My fingertips trace the cold bronze letters
On her headstone;
As the late wintry breeze
Ices the tears on my cheeks,
I pull my sweater tighter.
One heartbeat separates us,
My daughter and me,
In one heartbeat she slipped into heaven.
I look around at the rolling landscape
Dotted with bouquets of flowers,
Birds chirping in the treetops,
Elms and pines swaying to their melody,
The earth turning daily toward spring,
Changing — renewing.
The calm is broken by a siren wailing in the distance,
My son’s world;
One day a heartbeat will separate me from him,
But no longer me from her.
Sadness overwhelms me with the thought.
Caught between hope and despair,
I feel the warmth of the sunlight streaming through scattering clouds,
A butterfly flits around my daughter’s bouquet,
Life in the midst of death.
As I stand to leave, I realize that hope wins;
With the knowledge that she’s reveling
In the harmonious nature of eternity,
Climbing trees with ring-tailed lemurs,
Swimming with sea turtles in the ocean,
Hiking in the mountains or
Playing with geese around a lake,
That comforting vision is enough for today.
God’s peace fills me with the sweet whisper of the psalmist,
“I am still with you.”
And I know it’s true.
One heartbeat may separate us,
But our hearts will always be one.