19 October 2013

This little light of mine...

Sacred Heart Memorial Service, Saturday, October 19th, 2 p.m. 
What I spoke:

If I’m going to be wholly honest, I will say this: none of us wants to be in this room today.

Each of you should be at home, holding your baby, feeding your baby, feeling inextricably overwhelmed by joy instead of grief.

And…we are here.

When your baby dies, your world collapses. I remember. I remember the overwhelming sadness, the inadequacy of the responses from the doctors and nurses. The question ‘why?’ hanging in the room. And the answers always failing in some way.

I wish that I could hand you a formula for healing, a 12-step program, a guide through the overwhelming ebb and flow of emotions, but the truth is that we all fall incredibly short at offering one another solace because we will never truly walk in each other’s shoes. Even the death of my own daughter pales in comparison to your child’s death because your child is your own. And each of us has to own our terrible griefs in our own way. And I recognize how counterintuitive that seems—to in a sense embrace our grief with some kind of energy especially when our energy seems to be failing us.

There is a song from my childhood Sunday school classes that I remember well and it goes something like this:

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel, no! I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel, no! I’m gonna let it shine.

It is a small light I hold—one that sometimes teeters on the verge of being extinguished, but I have to believe that this little light of mine, this daughter we named Grace, no matter how small a light, still shines inside of me, still guides me through those occasional moments of teetering.

And I have to believe that simply by seeing each one of you here today, you are doing what you need to be doing. Because each of us, having seen our children die has gotten out of bed today, taken a shower, dressed, brushed our teeth and hair, put on shoes and walked out the door and into our cars to drive here.

And however small that might seem, it is some kind of light.

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