Your Love for Me

September 22, 2011

On this last day of summer,
one month before your yahrtzeit,
I grieve you as if the
accident was yesterday.
I am astonished (again, and yet again)
by the power of grief.
I had almost forgotten.

Maybe it’s because
this morning the cloth
slipped off the file box
where I keep your papers
and I squatted down,
opened the lid
and read.
I had not had the courage
or the strength
to open this box till today.

They were all love poems.
Love poems to me.
From you.

I did not cry.
I made myself comfortable
and read all your little messages:
the Valentine’s cards
with glittery hearts,
the requests that I not
kiss my boyfriend in front of you,
the notes you wrote
about how desperately you missed me
when I was a single mother,
working nights,
and you were exiled at home
with this babysitter
or that one.

There was a fire of longing
in your little-girl voice
that made it impossible to imagine
we could ever be separated,
that made me nearly grateful
that you died instead of me
so that you would not have to endure
this anguish of loss.
I carry it instead.
I am the mommy.

It was only later this morning
when I turned on my computer
and read about the senseless execution
of Troy Davis
that I wept.
The tears burned hot in my throat,
streamed from my eyes,
a storm of sorrow
I was powerless to resist.
It rose again during
exercise class at the gym.
I had to leave,
flee to my car,
where I could freely sob.

I mourn the death
of every mother’s child now
as if it were my own.
The protective layer
has been stripped from my heart
and I am totally permeable.
A father’s wailing
at the grave site of his baby
penetrates every cell of my body.
And so does the sweetness of
a chickadee landing
on the stone of our garden fountain,
dipping to drink.

Soon it will be ten years
since you died.
I feel something shifting
inside my life now,
expanding my focus
beyond death,
beyond grief and loss,
beyond the fire of tragedy.
I make small moves in response,
refer mourners to bereavement groups,
minimize references to grief counseling
in my public profile.
I square my shoulders
and begin to look up and outward
toward the next step on my journey,
a journey that’s more about joy.

And yet,
my sweet little girl,
though the raging fire of loss
has subsided, mostly,
and glows now like a warm ember,
soothing, rather than punishing,
there are still days
like this one
when a sudden wind
blows in from the desert
igniting the flame all over again,
and I am consumed
with loving you,
with missing you,
with gratitude for how
completely you loved me.

19 Responses to “Your Love for Me”

  1. Thank you for this lovely song of grief and gratitude, for mothers and children however separated.

  2. Rachel said

    Dear Mirabai,

    After reading this poem in honor of your fiercely and tenderly loving daughter, I can only say that, as with all of your writing, you break my heart as well as heal it. Your words grip my soul. Much love and continued healing to you, my sister.

    Un abrazo fortísimo,

  3. Thank you for your rich voice that expands my own capacity to feel and to express.

  4. April B. said

    I am utterly spellbound by your love for your child. Your tenderness has moved something dark and deep inside me. It fans the ember and lights the night… love sweeps across time and space. Thank you for who your are and God bless your precious little one.


  5. Mirabai said

    So beautifully expressed, April! Thank you.

  6. tara lupo said

    Heartbreakingly beautiful, Mirabai. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  7. Thank you for sharing this tender, beautiful, painful reality. I feel it, too, though it has been four years, not ten. Bless your heart.

  8. Joe Boncek said

    Speechless at the honest and raw eloquence of your heart. May the joy and grief merge as one.

  9. Rachel said

    Thank you, my dear Mirabai, it helps to know that you are with me and my mother. She would love you, too.

  10. Nikki said

    Your brilliant structure and arrangement of words, creating phrases and thoughts that fill my heart. Thank you, dear Mirabai for sharing these deep feelings and thank you for asking if I was alright earlier today, when in passing, perhaps we both sensed deeper feelings but for a brief moment, I hurrying to the next duty and you ready to be open – I missed an opportunity, but felt your care and I thank you! Blessings for these beautiful, fall days!

  11. wash me now anew
    the course grit and silky smooth
    right here as I am

    your words touch so deeply penetrating into the experiences we all can reach, the universal and tragically unique find their home in your words of honesty, clarity and comfort. Thank you sister.

  12. kensandin said

    Wow. I am blown away by this. Thank you

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