Poems by Grandmothers
Each new day comes after a night of wakening thoughts of holding two lost promises.
Rosebud mouths never able to suckle their Mamma’s swollen and aching breasts,
Rest now in another time and place beyond our understanding.
Loss and pain comes in eddies and tides, with just enough time and minutae in between to make
going on tolerable.
If I could bottle and store the hurt for my beloved family I would and then dish it out in amounts
that could not scar so deeply.
But I can’t – so we go on each day not mentioning that which is at the top of our minds and in the
the deepest places in our hearts.
Not saying it aloud, but knowing it of each other by the touch and the eyes that try to smile with
the mouth, but just can’t quite do it.
Gentle precious babies, our twinnies, shadows of what should have been in our minds, while
watching their brother and sister.
We ask, “Why God?” only because we don’t know what else to do.
Wanting to go back and breathe the breath of life into their still little, beautiful bodies,
Wanting to have their little fingers flex around our own.
Wanting to watch their little nostrils quiver with the sweet, indrawn breath.
You created us Lord with the ability to want to shake our fists at reality, to want to wrest from death
an apology and a restitution.
We have double grieving and double healing.
God, help us to be open to both – Please!
My best friend called this morning
Her voice just glittering with joy
Her son’s first child had just been born
A beautiful, and perfect little girl;
I wasn’t prepared for the jolt of feelings
Released deep within me, struggling free
From a wound that has not been sutured
Securely and is vulnerable to the pain.
I cried for joy for her and for loss for me,
And yet not only for me but for my precious
Children who must feel the jolt over and over
In megatons more powerfully than I do.
I cried for us, for them and for the lost promise
of our twinnies, for the miracle of birth denied them.
I have come to welcome tears over my 55 years of
living, not because of their cause, the pain,
But they have come to be the pressure valve that
Alleviates the unbidden, built-up sorrow that
Must be released or implode and cause another scar.
I welcomed them this morning to cleanse my soul.
I want to rejoice with my friend in the beauty of the
Birth of her little grandbaby girl and share all the
Promises of joy and delight her life will bring to
And yet she will know of the tears I need to shed
And it will remain unsaid…my gift to her.
…another poem by Marge N., “Bestemamma”– her identical twin granddaughters Erin & Kiersten were stillborn at 35 weeks along.
My Unborn Children Slipped Their Souls Away (For Kathy)
My unborn children slipped their souls away
In silent night, to heaven’s certain peace,
At which sad parting I did, crying, pray
For their safe homecoming, sorrow to cease.
Though they were never of this finite world
I knew them well: Their hearts were joined with mine
Warm fingers of my love within theirs curled,
I held their fragile lives for just a time…
How can it be? They dare not leave like this
When there’s a life for them beneath the sun –
They never met their mother’s tender kiss
Nor heard the lullabies I would have sung –
And now my tears are all I have to prove
My boundless love, that would these heavens move.
Ann H. W. H. B.
…in honor of Libby and Genny, her identical twin granddaughters who died in-utero at 37 weeks along.
To Andrew from his Gramma
Why did you die my little boy?
Your daddy’s fire engine will stay mute,
The truck too, will never run.
They’ve waited so many years for a hard push,
a joyous scream.
No small delighted boy will watch
the train go round the Christmas tree,
Nor take delight in noisy and tumble down things
Where has your little spirit gone?
You somehow seem so close to me.
A mistake was made, you’re here,
You’re hiding like a naughty little boy.
But we’ll all be so relieved when you
jump out and yell:
“Here I am gramma, here I am,”
C’mon, hurry up, we’ll miss the train.
But you’re off somewhere and I can’t find you.
…in honor of her twin grandson who was stillborn at fullterm
A Tribute to Sophie and Maya from “Nonna”
Twin girls were born today — Sophie and Maya.
Suddenly, dawn and sunset, winter and summer
Elation, shock, grief, joy intermixed,
Overcoming each other, overwhelming us all.
Breaths of life…
One wondrous breath into our physical world,
Preceded by another soundless, ecstatic breath
Into the enigmatic splendor of Eternity.
An iridescent angel came down from the heavens
To be at the twins’ birth.
It kissed Sophie, blessing her on her voyage on our Earth.
Then, softly placing Maya’s soul on an invisible rainbow of love
It departed from here, to the Eternal above
Where all relatives, and a caring great-grandmother
Were eagerly waiting – in awe to celebrate
The new ethereal arrival.
Because of you, Sophie, sharing our human experience,
We can feel, touch, embrace, caress, hold, and love you
And you, little Maya
Although unable to care for you physically,
We can still feel, touch, embrace, caress, hold, and love
you with all our hearts, minds and souls.
You are everywhere, angel Maya…
There, unto the Heavens; here, with your twin sister, Sophie,
Here with your parents, your grandparents .
And all of us who grieve your departure.
Yet, we take solace in knowing that
When we too become pure Energy,
We will be there with you to glorify the forever
Joyful Eternity together.
Till then, little Maya, you share with us
The gift of “Sophie”, given to us
To nurture, love and be happy for.
Thank you for having come to us
…by the twins father’s mother
January 8th, 2007
Dearest Elizabeth Grace Vieira Côté
My darling Grand-daughter,
I have known you but for 39 days, yet as I held your lifeless body in my arms today, for the first time since you were born, my grandma heart mourned not only the life which has been taken from you but also the precious moments that have been robbed from all of us…
We will never see you smile a crooked little grin or watch you take your first steps. We will never touch your first tooth, hear your first (goo) or your first laugh. I will never hear you call me (Gammy). I will never savour the special memories of painting your tiny nails or braiding your silky hair. I’ll never play hide and seek with you or share secrets with you that only you and I could understand …these things are now just faded dreams that will never come true…
Why have you been taken from us?…this remains the unanswered question. Maybe one day we will know the reason for all this madness. One thing I can tell you, my darling Elizabeth, is that your life was not in vain. In your short time here on Earth you have taught us determination, courage and Love with a capital L. You have taught us to be humble and patient. Through your silent suffering you have touched the hearts of all who cared for you and all who visited you in your tiny hospital bed. Because of you, our family ties are even tighter. You have brought us abundant joy and happiness by just being…
Your Mommy and Daddy also have grown as a result of your arrival. They have learned, as have we all, that we should not take things for granted. Life can change forever in a matter of minutes.
Last Sunday your parents were overwhelmed with pride as they held you and Ava in their arms. That is a memory they will cherish for as long as they live and because of it, their love for one another will bond even more.
No, your life has not been in vain, my precious grand-daughter, for you have changed our lives forever…
Rest well my little one…remember how much you are loved.
Your Gammy XX