Unexpected Blossoming

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Little one
When you arrived
You were like a little rosebud
Picked in the rain
Crinkled, crimson, vulnerable

And I was afraid
Time would tarnish you further

My heart quaked before seeing you again
And I felt terrible to be a mother afraid
To see her own child

The first night it was true
You were so cold
As if the frost had bitten your beauty
And your stillness was so solemn

I left you that night
Weeping and broken
With a sprig of baby’s breath
Clutched in your tiny fists

But when we returned
Two days later to visit you
Kindly laid out by the hospital chaplain
You were rosier
Your cheeks were fuller
Like the little rosebud
Had begun to unfurl

Such a mercy
Your three biggest sisters
Could find you lovely
Patting your cheek
Holding your tiny hands in theirs
Proudly having their picture taken with you
Their baby

They took turns leaving kisses
On your sweet face
One of the few gifts
You could take to Heaven

But the most beautiful day of all
Was the last one we saw you
At the funeral chapel

Our sweet funeral director Michelle
Suggested I help dress you
In the one dress you’ll wear forever
The one I searched the city for
And finally found in a little Italian shop
On the east side of town
Where the Italian grandmas embraced me
And exclaimed “Que bella, que bella!” at your photo

It was a fall baptismal dress
A cosy knitted one from Europe
With a matching sweater and booties
Creamy white with little bits of shiny pink
The last one in the store
Meant for you

So the day before your funeral
Michelle brought you to us
Carrying you in her arms
With the affection and tenderness of a mother
Wrapped in your cosy blanket
The warmest and softest one I could find

And, little rose, you were in bloom!
Your beauty was enchanting
You sparkled as Daddy held you close
And I even laughed and said
You were our little snow queen

You looked so real, so alive
So much like a little baby sleeping
That your grandmother
Meeting you for the first time
Couldn’t help rocking you back and forth
“My baby, my baby!”

So many came that day
All your five children siblings
Your two uncles
And one aunt
And our friend Fr. Uy
Who delivered your crown

You must have felt the affection
Poured on you as everyone took their turn
To hold you, our precious one
And I remember my brother Monti
The one who flew from Hawaii to be here for me
Saying as he held you, “She’s ok. She’s really ok.”

And as we crowned you with a tiny crown
Of yellow and white flowers
Laced with sparkles
And a tiny medal of our Lady
Hand sewn for hours that morning
By a woman from the parish we hardly knew
You, darling, simply glowed
Sharing with us
A tiny glimpse
Of the radiance of Heaven

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9 thoughts on “Unexpected Blossoming

  1. Ohh Anna, what beautiful words to your sweet Josephine. She truly is as radiant as a rose. Absolutely perfect in every way. We will keep you all in our prayers during this Christmas season.
    xoxo

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