Sunday, February 27, 2011

Awaiting the touch of a little hand...

My Nana.

I miss her. Differently than I do Gwen and my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. I don't know why - but it is how we are wired. We let our grandparents go (and half the time I'm sure she is with me). I loved her so much. My Grandpa too. Each relationship was its own thing, its own love.

But my Nana was impressionable upon me in formative ways... so much of my time with her shaped who I am. One small, huge thing - was her love of poetry. She read to us over and over again, my brother and I several favorites.

One she recited, as best she could, from memory. She had memorized it from a reader at school, on her own volition and never saw it in print again. Before she died, thanks to the internet and being a college student with special access, I found an online poetry database and found the poem.

I read it at her service. I read it at Gwen's service and at my sister-in-laws service. I honestly can't remember but I don't think I read it at my brother-in-laws service, even as it specifically was about the loss of a younger brother.

I've yet to publish it here. But I will someday.

Tonight it struck me, that another poem we loved was about loss, child loss...I looked it up just now, and...can you guess? Cried. This weekend I had the first few lines of "The Raven" in my head and noted then, that was about grief, longing...and death.

It's raining outside. Pouring. It rained during Gwen's service. Poured. It rained the day she died. One of those beautiful thunderstorms, it rolled in as we were heading out, out to go somewhere with Lil - anywhere but our house, empty forever of Gwen. I'll never forget those clouds and the sun....I remember the clouds being almost tunnel like...I remember the wind.

I remeber the warm sunny moment when we sat down and told Lil (how were we going to tell our little child that our other little child died?). We told her and the sun was shining. Now with the spring, I feel the same way - how do I welcome spring, when it is all over-writing her time on earth, here with me? I will. I can. But, the memories - I remember the odd Spring I had last year - and how it froze forever for me - the tree just budding and then stopped. My Spring that never even smiled. The sun was shining and we were fooled. We thought she'd make it... we really did.

I remember the rain that started the night we before we were returning, after the event in October... it followed us home.

"Come read to me some poem...some simple and heartfelt lay. That shall sooth this restless feeling, and banish the thoughts of day."

Thank you Nana. Poetry helps. Her tree will have a small poem on her plaque. And, here, for her blog - I'll share the other poem later, but for now - the one I remembered tonight, is this - and it speaks to every aching parents heart - I know - who misses their child, who's house is empty of that sweet soul - loudly empty. Once upon time there were even more of us - who lost children. I'm well aware that it's only in our more "modern" era that we are so separated from early death. Please, don't "protect" your children from sadness and loss. Read them good poetry like this - it's okay for children to know that people, even children die. My Nana read this to us since we were little and we loved it. Now I love it more.

Thank God sometimes words do a half decent job...

THE little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and staunch he stands;
The little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new, 5
And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.

"Now don't you go till I come," he said,
"And don't you make any noise!" 10
So, toddling off to his trundle bed,
He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue—
Oh! the years are many, the years are long, 15
But the little toy friends are true!

Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place,
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face; 20
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
Since he kissed them and put them there.


  1. Crying with you. Praying still. As always.

  2. I remember this poem from some dusty-jacketed book of children's rhymes.....a long, long time ago. It made me sad, then....and cry now. Love to you & your family, Laura.


Ten years loom and as always seems to be the case, I find myself struggling the most in the days ahead of the anniversary  - be it her birt...