Tonight I got the news that my stepmom died after spending weeks in a coma. I feel a weight on my chest that might not be lifted for a while. No one needs to apologize or make light of it for me.
At the same time, today is the 5th birthday of my miniature miracle, my niece Victoria, who I refer to as “bunkin bear.” She just happens to be the cutest thing on two legs (in addition to the other nieces and nephews, of course). She also happens to be a medical miracle, born at 30 weeks, weighing 1 lb. 13 oz., to my sister who has a heart disease, during an incredibly traumatic childbirth experience which I won’t go into detail about right now.
The point is that I was there the day she was ripped from the womb. I saw her whisked away and immediately connected to tubes and wires and monitors. I watched her nearly die repeatedly. I drove to and from the hospital for months with my sister who wanted to take her home and raise her like a normal parent. I have been there for the past five years and watched my family encompass her with love, care, and support (and okay, a little spoiling from time to time). I’ve witnessed the miracle of her life.
For tonight, I’m just going to take a moment to focus on what is beautiful and alive. I’ll have to grieve the loss of my stepmom at another time, of course. God gives, and God takes away. It’s just part of life. And I still believe that life is beautiful.
I wrote this poem a few months after Victoria was born. Enjoy.
When I sang your secret song tonight,
your long lashes curled themselves up to sleep.
I think you remembered the words
and the power they held for you in the beginning.
You were miniscule,
your less-than-two-pound flesh
pale, veined, wrinkled,
your head sunken in.
I sucked in cold, sterile air
when I saw you
gasping at the tube,
flailing for dear life.
How you made it through
the deep waters of those
pins and needles weeks,
the waves never overtaking you,
only God knows.
I remember staring through
the heated glass isolette
holding your miniature hand
through the barrier and hearing
His words from Ezekiel breathing
down my neck.
“Can these dry bones
breathe and live?”
Oh Sovereign Lord,
Only You know.