Bittersweet Because

Little darling

how my heart is bursting

with the beauteous warmth of you,

your cuddly down-softness

snuggling in my arms,

fluffy dark hair caressing my cheek as I cradle you.

And yet in all this glory

a bittersweet strain of music

tugs at my heart,

because you are so much like her,

your big sister who was born asleep,

eyes closed forever,

motionless,

and here you are

—thank God!—

alive.

I want to cry grateful tears of sorrow

when you squeak and grumble like a little bear

because your sister was so silent.

And when I smell the milky scent on your neck

because your sister never tasted milk.

I was left bursting but alone…

my arms like edges of an empty cradle

with only myself to rock.

I get choked up by your little hands

which look exactly like hers–

long slim fingers and grandma’s double jointed thumbs.

They’re curled up in tiny fists above your head

in the abandon of sleep,

yet warm and ever ready to grasp my finger

instead is still, pale, and cold.

In this bittersweet place

I love you both

and want to give you everything:

all the affection and tenderness

I wished to give her

but also want to give you for yourself.

I drink deeply both of sorrow and of joy.

How life and death are woven together

–intertwined–

in this strange tapestry where all the shadows

make the colours brighter.

What is painful

and what is precious

have become inseparable

and love runs through it all.

11 thoughts on “Bittersweet Because

  1. Stephanie Howie

    Oh wow, what an incredible piece. I can’t imagine. I remember how hard it was to wrap my head around the fact that baby Matthew wasn’t my toddler Isaac. Let alone to have two in different places. Thank you, for sharing your heart. All my love and prayers, Steph

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Julia

    Your brilliant words capture the longings of a mother stretched between this world and the next. Unbeknownst to our living children, their everyday expressions and cuddles bring fresh waves of grief sometimes. It is easy to feel robbed of our lost parenthood. I have to believe, however, that the Maker of Life, who creates every soul for eternity, will unite us as a family someday in heaven. Sisters forever.

    Liked by 1 person

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