You who have trod the narrow way of grief;
All you who, in life have taken upon you the Cross as a yoke,
And followed Me by faith,
Draw near, enjoy the honours and celestial crowns I have prepared for you.
After Innocent died I couldn’t help feeling rather shunted aside by the Church. Because my child had not been baptised he would not have a funeral, would not have panikhidas celebrated in church, would not be commemorated among the dead during services. I did come to terms with that and explained it here. The one thing that never failed to comfort me was the set of verses from the memorial hymn above. There have been many memorial services celebrated since Innocent died and at each one I looked forward to this verse. I felt like the Church was comforting ME specifically, acknowledging the pain that I had suffered and still suffer, granting it weight. That in some way there was purpose to the grief I suffered.
I’m feeling that once again. Next week we will lay yet another little still form in the ground. It’s not spring this time. Pascha is not just over the horizon. The only flowers I can gather from the yard are camellias which aren’t pressable (with the exception of the certifiably insane hydrangea in the side yard which has persisted in blooming this week despite weather to the contrary). Once again I will be whispering my baby’s name during the litany of the faithful when it comes time to list the departed, since my babies aren’t technically included.
God hears the cries of my heart. He weeps with me. I happened to read this the night we found out our baby had departed:
[Aslan has asked Digory if he will help rid Narnia of the evil that Digory (unwittingly) brought into it.]
“Yes,” said Digory. He had had for a second some wild idea of saying, “I’ll try to help you if you’ll promise to help my Mother,” but he realized in time that the Lion was not at all the sort of person one could try to make bargains with. But when he had said “Yes,” he thought of his Mother, and he thought of the great hopes he had had, and how they were all dying away, and a lump came in his throat and tears in his eyes, and he blurted out:
“But please, please – won’t you – can’t you give me something that will cure Mother?” Up till then he had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.
–C.S.Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew
As much as I love my babies, God loves them infinitely more. I can’t understand this, just as I can’t understand why they are in Heaven and not with me. I can’t understand lots of things. But I mostly accept that I don’t have to understand, that God doesn’t need me to understand, but to endure and trust.