Little Lanterns

I will send you a million, million

Little lanterns

Rising points of light

from the same lit flame

Each inscribed with the story of how I lost you

How could I have lost you

When the greatest of these is love,

Little Lantern?

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Shout their voicelessness

Children are notoriously voiceless, which is why Lindy West’s crusade to “shout your abortion” is so very tone deaf.

In this country and in many countries all over the world, women of childbearing age may have the right to kill their own small daughters and sons, but once that procedure has resulted in the death of a child, it no longer belongs to the mother to shout.

Mother–see how ironic that sounds.

We have to shout for…

…the voiceless girls

Who have lost their lives, their right to shout

For daughters

For sons

Forever missing

Their voices.

Veronica

When I lost Veronica–as I was losing Veronica, I decided I had to leave a trail of words so she could find me. This was back before the bloom of social media, so the trail of words was newspaper and legal-document based with a book of some sort when she grew up.

If anyone asked me, I would say that loving Veronica and having to figure out how to survive without her was the single most defining tragedy of my life. Defining in that it changed me. Defining in that it may have made me a better person.

The days and the hours right after I lost you were hell–actual hell. I wanted to die it hurt so much. I missed you, but worse than that I knew you missed me. I hated not being able to tell you why I was not there–that it had not at all been my choice to let you go.

This forced me to pray in a way I had never prayed before. I prayed for people to stroke your hair and people to sing you lullabies. I prayed for people to do things to love you, because I could not.

And in the process I realized that this kind of prayer was a form of metaphysical bargaining–God send someone to love Veronica led to God saying who will you love in return?

I loved youth group kids for you

I loved refugees for you

I loved drug addicts and the mentally ill for you

The snooty

The cowardly

And the messy

For you

I loved strangers for you

I loved pilgrims for you.

And the people who worked the drive through….for years they all were you–my lost baby in the world.

Because for the last 20 years all I have seen around me are would-be Veronicas.

Because that is how God sees me. He sees me through Jesus, His beloved lost Son.

So when you are afraid to call, when I have no address to send birthday gifts or plane tickets I marvel at what you don’t know about the treasure of love I have for you,

my baby girl.

Ghost Child

To be clear you are all grown up now and living somewhere as I try yet again to excise what you have done to us all from pictures of beautiful children.

You were

You are a dangerous male child

But what you will be

Is mountains told to throw themselves

Into the Sea.

Mark 11:22-23 NIV

[22] “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. [23] “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.

Apophenia

I pull the elephant ears out of the water, one and then a handful and then none for awhile, risking dead fish and live snakes to find you. At dinner the little boy asks what miscarriage is and my answer is accurate but brief because why tell a little boy about lost siblings and the trees grown in their place or the way that forgetting is not better than carrying this

This memory of you dark, indelible angel, in the midst of all I hold dear.