i don’t have a poem
so I thought I would make one. Fashion it like clay, until the lump looks like something recognizable to someone. I have swan friends at two ponds, yet there are no babies this year. Both ponds have snapping turtles. Cygnets are a tasty snack. Ducklings too. The occasional gosling though they are bigger faster, harder to catch up with.
The long awaited arrival of hatchlings, one of Spring’s highlights for me. The 40 days of sitting on the eggs, often without food (no, not me, Bella, though it might as well be me, since I often feel like their mother). The joy of watching the young ones grow, the way they learn to trust me. The sweetness of being part of it, part of the family. That sweetness gone, though there are others. The way William raises his head and snorts, delighted to see me. Bella pushing through the disgusting Water Chestnut, from a great distance, even without my calling.
I was hoping God would heal Jasmine. I was thinking that a miracle would be lovely. I’ve done really well accepting loss (historically, it’s the hardest thing for me to cope with. Beginning with my mother, as a young girl, unprepared. I didn’t see it coming though I should have. I guess I’ve always been a little bit naive). But last night I woke (a rarity) and tossed and turned over why ALL the cygnets had to die. Couldn’t we have just ONE to love? Wouldn’t we love it all the more dearly? Wouldn’t it be so precious because it survived? What are we to learn from this great sadness? I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t know. I want to understand (ah, there it is. Even before 11, I couldn’t accept *anything* I did not understand. I would have to make sense of it, somehow, first).
I’m happy I still have William. I’m happy he still has Bella (she left him, but came back. I don’t know why). I wish the turtles could be relocated. And take the groundhogs who are still envying my garden with them. It seems this entire season has been trying to keep one step ahead of death. In the garden I have rodents and insects. At the pond I have Snappers and Fox and invasive weeds. And yet, so much of life is beautiful.
This isn’t a poem, and it may not look like anything much but to end with beauty and gratitude is a journey through loss that I was never able to accomplish at 11. I was angry, and couldn’t see any other way to look at it. What kind of loving God takes a little girl’s mother, when she clearly needs her more than God does? (i’m not even sure she believed in God. Somewhere in there, maybe, invisible, smothered, defeated).
How to end this, then? Loss, which used to bring me to my knees, still punches me in the gut, but I trust that I can get up (this used to worry me. Having given up completely, once, why wouldn’t I do it again?) I can get up, brush myself off, carry on. Not denying the pain, but not wallowing in the mud. Even a broken heart can care enough to sustain what’s beautiful.