Friday, May 13, 2011

"Life is a tragedy, confront it."

"Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation." -Kahlil Gibran

Friday, May 14th. 3:30 & 5:30. Gwen. Marie. The hours of separation. It was this Friday in May -it was a Friday - and it hurts as though it was yesterday.

I find, myself, that Love for children is outside of time...and this type of wound - well it kinda stays... You get stronger in carrying it but only as any muscle forced to work will grow in accordance - the "Grief" muscle grows, the weight never changes. My baby-loss companion, Michelle writes, "The weight of the grief? Is always the same. Maybe some days, it's easier to pick up - but the size never changes. It's always heavy."

Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts; not amid joy. - Arthur Helps


And Friday morning, the same day in May - is here...and I see it all...I know, this time I know now how today will pan out...


Little I knew that morning, God was going to call your name, >
in life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same.

" (repeat twice when you read this.)

And I can conjure up in a split second ache, tears, and longing and devastation that is no different from the moment "it happened" - I saw my child die - I held her helplessly in a hospital room next to my husband a child whom hours earlier we cooed and awed at. You don't just "move on" - not from a day like that. You change entirely.  And in conjunction, you slowly grow your "sadness muscle" so you can carry it all with you - because you don't get a choice. Strength does not come from joy.

I remember that little smile that morning. I lament we didn't get more - that was the first. I remain grateful for that smile...but to love is to want... I wish I had more smiles to "lean on" as I do Marie's laughter.

Twice in one day the phone would bring us news of horrible things, a heart stopping in our baby girl and our sweet sister's life being lost in a fall from a high place in the woods. This spring, this May, I watched it again - even as I know it is over - but this is the first time I marked the days and "watched" it play out.

On the other side, after this anniversary of death - perhaps I'll have changed, perhaps some bit of release and relief will come between the first and this second time it all happened. But in truth, I'll be walking on the very same path and with many cruel moments still to come, as Gwen and Marie are not here and this time I don't have shock to "protect me."

I am at once always devastated, always so sad - and I've lost before - but there is something about those younger than you - the "love roots" are entwined differently, they rooted into the bottom of my heart - whereas those older than me, I was rooted in theirs. They left "late enough" that I had completely established my own depth of roots, separate, mostly from them. Their loss tore merely from the top of my heart - I still think on them, still wish them to be here, I still love them and treasure their memory... but those rooted deep at the bottom of our hearts, those we watch grow up - they are ripped from the deepest place in hearts and pulled through, entwined with your roots all the while being torn mercilessly.

And three times in one year. We are worn out. I just feel worn out. And I just want them back. I'm not strong...

I loved those we lost. "To love is to want" - I'll accept there will be no peace to be found regarding their sudden absence and the trauma of how each left...and I'll keep loving them and wanting them back in our lives. And as your gain no strength from joy, I'll keep getting "stronger" in a way no one ever wants to. I wouldn't trade this for a thing, I know, I know - this is the cost of having had them in our lives - and they are worth it - I wouldn't have wanted to not know them... but even so, their losses are what they are - tragedies - and always will be.

It is over, and yet, it is never over - it is always open-ended, always heavy.

"There is no more ridiculous custom than the one that makes you express sympathy once and for all on a given day to a person whose sorrow will endure as long as his life. Such grief, felt in such a way, is always "present," it is never too late to talk about it, never repetitious to mention it again."

-Marcel Proust

There you were, and it was like spring
like the first fair water with the light on it,
hitting the eyes.
Why are we made the way we are made, that to love
is to want?
Well you are gone now, and this morning I have walked out
to the back shore,
to the ocean which, even if we think we have measured it,
no final measure.
Sometimes you can see the great whales there,
breaching and playing.
Sometimes the swans linger just long enough
for us to be astonished.
Then they lift their wings, they become again
a part of the untouchable clouds.

- Mary Oliver

 The last photo taken of the Carpenter kids. It was at their Grandmothers funeral. I was 21 weeks with Gwen. 
Marie and Gwen are right next to each other. Missing is Aunt Liz and little cousins 
Lily Kate and sadly, it's not everyone. But it's lovely we have this.

The last photos I took. Last ones of Gwen. 
Last one of daddy and Gwen, mommy and Gwen and big-sis and Gwen. 
Taken in the end of April and May. 

The Broken Chain

Little I knew that morning, God was going to call your name,
in life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone,
for part of me went with you, the day God called you home.

You left us beautiful memories, your love is still our guide,
and though we cannot see you, you are always by our side

Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same,
but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.

-Author Unkown


Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

-Mother Teresa 

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." 2 Corinthians 4


  1. Hi Laura,

    I hope today has passed peacefully for you, Myers and your families. I have a candle burning for your loved ones tonight.


  2. I was thinking of you and praying for your family at intervals all day yesterday. The memories were flooding back, too....all the little details...seeing her that morning in Meyers' arms...dropping Tess off... the phone calls back and giant tummy full of Grace... I can't wait for the day when God sets to right all the "Wrong" in your family, and fulfills all your lost dreams with His goodness. I can't wait to see Gwenyth Graham again with you and Jesus!


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...