Monday, 23 February 2015

A Letter to the Mother of Elijah Marsh

This story has shaken my core. If I think too long about little Elijah, outside in the cold, with his diaper and boots, it's impossible to keep the tears from trickling down my face. My breath catches every time I see the picture from the security footage of Elijah walking out of his apartment. When I think about the cold and the dark he was wandered through, my heart physically hurts for him. And for you. I am so profoundly sorry for your loss. Parents are not supposed to bury their children. The circle of life just isn't supposed to go that way.

As mothers of young children, there is something special that binds us. We are together living in a place that is simultaneously chaotic and full of love. Moving from tears of anger to fits of laughter in seconds, there is nothing quite like parenting a baby or toddler.

I never met Elijah, but I see him in my son. I see him when he laughs. I see him when he plays. I see him as my nearly three-year-old pulls on his boots. I see him as my toddler grows tall enough to open the locks on our doors. I see him as my own son looks at me with his big brown eyes because, as independent and determined as he is, he still needs his mama. I see him as I hug my little one just a little bit tighter this week. He doesn't know why, but I do.

This story could have easily been us. All that separates my son from the cold outdoors are locks I know he can open and a baby gate that he hasn't, yet, mastered. My husband and I are already talking about what else we can do. I'm sure I'm not the only parent thinking these thoughts. Elijah may be gone, but his spirit will save of another toddler out there. Maybe more than one.

John O'Donohue writes the most beautiful blessings, and I send this one now to you.

For a Parent on the Death of a Child

No one knows the wonder
Your child awoke in you,
Your heart a perfect cradle
To hold its presence.
Inside and outside became one
As new waves of love
Kept surprising your soul.

Now you sit bereft
Inside a nightmare,
Your eyes numbed
By the sight of a grave
No parent should ever see.

You will wear this absence
Like a secret locket,
Always wondering why
Such a new soul 
Was taken from home so soon.

Let the silent tears flow
And when your eyes clear
Perhaps you will glimpse
How your eternal child
Has become an unseen angel
Who parents your heart
And persuades the moon
To send new gifts ashore.

May strength, courage, and love fill the space between us.

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