Tomorrow is my husband’s 60th birthday. While we are still grieving the sudden death of our Amy, I still thought it was important to celebrate life too and my husband significant birthday. My daughter graciously agreed to host it at her new
home. However, when the day arrived, I realized I wasn’t emotionally ready to be around so many people and I had no idea how I would get through the evening without falling apart.
My daughter, sister and I set everything up rather quickly which left a window of time for me to take a walk to cry or regroup before everyone arrived. During my walk I started talking to Amy in my head and told her how much I loved her and missed her today and how I needed to feel her presence to help me handle her father’s birthday gathering.
As I was ending my walk I saw my daughter’s neighbor come out of her house and start to get into her car. I slowed down so I wouldn’t have to pass her when suddenly she got out of her car and turned around to me and ask me how I was doing. I just kind of shook my head. Instead of going back into her car, she started walking towards me and asked me what was wrong? I was surprised when she looked at me and said “I told my husband you seemed so friendly when I first met you but you haven’t really spoken to me since that first time.” So then I felt compelled to defend my behavior by telling her that my youngest daughter died one week after her sister moved into the house. She burst into tears and proceeded to tell me that she understood how I felt because she lost her oldest son at age 26 twenty years ago. We continued to stand there crying and hugging. Just like the new energy Amy uses to reach out to me by using dreams, electricity and nature, as my friend later mentioned, maybe my Amy and the neighbor’s son orchestrated that comforting encounter. Before we parted ways, my daughter’s very kind neighbor recited parts of the following poem to me which just touched my heart. I was happy I remembered enough of it so I could search for it today:
I’ll Lend you a Child
I will lend you, for a little time,
A child of mine, he said.
For you to love the while she lives,
And mourn for when she’s dead.
It may be six or seven years,
Or twenty-two or three.
But will you, till I call her back,
Take care of her for Me?
She’ll bring her charms to gladden you,
And should her stay be brief.
You’ll have her lovely memories,
As solace for your grief.
I cannot promise she will stay,
Since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there,
I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked the wide world over,
In search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes
I have selected you.
Now will you give her all your love,
Nor think the labour vain.
Nor hate me when I come
To take her home again?
I fancied that I heard them say,
‘Dear Lord, Thy will be done!’
For all the joys Thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter her with tenderness,
We’ll love her while we may,
And for happiness we’ve known,
Forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for her,
Much sooner than we planned.
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And try to understand.
by Edgar Guest