Since Abi died, prayer has become part of my day. I didn’t often pray before, except in church or the occasional Lord’s Prayer. Now, my prayers are more like mini conversations with God. Sometimes, I read a psalm or sing … Continue reading
I’m at a loss. How do you ‘celebrate’ your child’s birthday when they are dead? I should be chasing around here and there, buying balloons, presents, sorting things out, baking an amazing cake. Instead I sit here and can only … Continue reading
When trying to rebuild a life that’s been broken – it can feel like you’re grappling in the darkness, utterly alone, tired, afraid. Even the simplest routines go out of sync, the pace of life seems five steps faster than what we can manage. … Continue reading
My darling Abi, I recall you lying on your changing mat when you were a tiny baby Those early months just you and me while Daddy was at work Finding my feet with this miraculous little person Who had grown … Continue reading
In my morning sleep, the sleep before the day begins, I saw you Clear, real, here You were standing on the landing, in the doorway to our bedroom. From my bed, I talked to you Like I used to You … Continue reading
There’s an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting,
So it is hard to get around it.
Yet we squeeze by with “How are you?” And “I’m fine”
And a thousand other forms of trivial chatter.
We talk about the weather.
We talk about work.
We talk about everything – except the elephant in the room.
There’s an elephant in the room.
We all know it is there.
We are thinking about the elephant as we talk together.
It is constantly on our minds.
For, you see, it is a very big elephant.
It has hurt us all.
But we do not talk about the elephant in the room.
Oh, please say her name.
Oh, please, say “Abi” again.
Oh, please, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
For if we talk about her death,
Perhaps we can talk about her life.
Can I say “Abi” to you and not have you look away?
For if I cannot, then you are leaving me
In a room…
With an elephant…
(by Terry Kettering)
Often, during the week, a prayer, hymn, or Bible passage will be repeating in my mind. I feel this is no small coincidence as it often reflects or resolves something I’m brooding over.
When writing my blog posts the other day, the lyrics from this prayer/hymn (from my school days!), ‘to be understood as to understand’, came to mind and seemed to convey perfectly my need to write to understand how I’m feeling yet also to give the opportunity for my grief to be understood by others.
Another poem we chose for Abi’s church service, read by another uncle.
You were so very, very special
And were so from the start
We held you in our arms
But mainly in our hearts.
And like a single drop of rain
That on still waters fall,
Your life did ripples make
And touched the lives of all.
You’ve gone to play with angels
In heaven up above
So we’ll keep our special memories
And treasure them with love
Although you, our darling daughter,
Were with us just a while
You’ll live on in our hearts
With a sweet remembered smile.
A poem we chose to be read at Abi’s church funeral service, read beautifully by one of Abi’s uncles. It was one we’d read to her in the past and reminded us of her.
I’ve watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that yellow flower
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! – not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!
We chose the complete version of this well-known poem to be the only reading at Abi’s brief cremation service.
Finding a reading which meant something and was not overly sentimental was very difficult. Nothing seemed to be fitting for Abi’s ‘final word’… nothing could be. But this poem spoke to us, it was both a comfort and an expression of grief; it doesn’t pretend it’s all okay but that what has happened and how we feel is both human and spiritual.