life and death and justice

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There is something so healing about watching plants sprout and grow, even if their short life is cut even shorter by the depredations of insects and other predators. When I made it home today, I spent a few minutes just walking around the scattered garden spots on our land and admiring the vegetables and flowers. The zuchinni looks like is already has a few flowers getting ready to bloom. Our marigolds have recovered from whatever was nibbling on their blossoms and make a golden and green border to the garden plot. The garlic chives have almost finished flowering, but are still a splashy purple cornerpiece to the back plot. In the front, the rhubarb is shiny and green - still too new to even dream of harvesting (next year, I hope). One of the rosebushes has started blooming and even the nasturtiums look happy.
True, there are empty spots in the garden where some anticipated plants just didn't make it through the strange weather or the depredations of whatever was nibbling. I haven't put new plants in those spots. I don't know yet if I will. Those empty spaces remind me that I am not the one in charge here, that God has given us a chance to nurture and harvest but that He alone really runs the show.
I need that reminder some times. I have been so angry at Him these last few weeks. Maybe I need to dig out the Psalter and pray the cursing psalms for a few days. Life is so unfair when I see it from this side. I wish that I could cry. I wish that I had the strength to cry out "My God, why have You forsaken your children? Why have You forsaken me?".
Yesterday, I had the sad duty to tell a mom that her baby, her miracle, had died in utero at 27 weeks gestation. I had been the one to tell this mom that she was pregnant, I had seen her for every prenatal visit, I had attended her previous birth and also births for her family and friends. We had laughed together, and now we cried together. After we confirmed that our worst fears had come true, after 3 different people had tried and failed to find a beating heart, I gave her the medicine to start her labor. She labored with beauty and quiet dignity, and with anger and grief. The abuelas from both sides of the family came in and out and prayed with her and for her. Her labor was short and sweet - less than 9 hours after I gave her the medicine, she pushed out her 1 pound baby into my hands. Perfectly formed, with translucent skin, those delicate hands and feet that we have seen in the pictures. I think we all hoped against hope that she would surprise us and cry and breathe and live - but we all knew that it was not to be.
Stillbirth. The old term for what is now called a 'fetal demise'. I prefer the classic term. Words from a song running through my brain, "but the baby was born, as still as the night" and yes, that is what it is like. Still. Quiet. Except for the anguished cry of the mother, "Dios mio, dios mio, por que? Madre de dios, por que? Santa virgen, ayuda me!". In anguish returning to the tongue of her childhood, reaching out to hold and gaze on her little one.
Her miracle baby. She had prayed so hard to be able to conceive this one. It was not supposed to be possible, but it happened. The Lord gives, the Lord takes away - blessed be the name of the Lord.
I stayed as long as I could, but then I desperately needed to sleep. I brought her a set of virginal white rosary beads that I have been carrying around for a while - I don't know just why, but now I think I have figured it out. I don't know the whats and the whys of this whole thing. I have to remember that God is in charge.
And so, when I came home at last, I walked in my garden.
Please, in your prayers, pray for the repose of the soul of Beatriz Milagros. There will be but one date on her headstone.


Will keep that family in my prayers....

Sad, sad, sad. God surely put you with them for a purpose. May His comfort surround their family.

Reading this had me in tears. I shall pray for this poor woman and her family.

If you see her again, I have heard that the intercession of St. Gianna Molla is quite powerful, and she has answered the prayers of many in this woman's situation, who conceived and miscarried or had stillbirths.

Oh alicia - life is truly so much a mystery. I long and pray for the time when I may, by God's grace, know the answers! Until then we struggle with faith, we pray and we console those who grieve. Lee Anne is right - your being there with the mother was no accident, no coincidence. Perhaps you will see the fruit, perhaps not but take comfort in knowing that fruit will be borne from your act of love.

17 months ago that was me.

If it's any comfort to you Alicia, in the mom's mind you helped to make this unbearable situation easier, and I'm sure the words you spoke and the rosary you gave her will be treasured in the months and years to come.

I will add my prayers today at Mass for that sweet baby and the sad family.

mercy and grace ease your sadness and theirs

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on June 17, 2004 9:23 PM.

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