A few years ago, when the parish was trying to get people to volunteer for the different ministries, I volunteered to attend masses for children and babies. I felt as a mother of 6 I had a special perspective for it; having buried one child gives me some empathy. So the funeral lady calls me every time there is a baby. She is always apologetic, as if she is afraid she will hurt me somehow by telling me about another baby's passing. I always thank her profusely for letting me know and reassure her that I WANT her to call me. And so I go and sit with the "funeral ladies;" the ladies there representing the parish and singing the hymns and saying all of the responses.
But it's never easy. I see the grieving mother and I want to tell her the pain will go away in time. I want to tell her that if she keeps her heart open and her eyes alert, she'll see the goodness that can come out of her tragedy. But I don't. I think it's something that you just have to live through to see for yourself. No one can tell you, although I think there might be a time areassurance can be given that a broken heart heals itself in due course.
The parents today were so young. They reminded me a lot of my Calvin and Sarah. And what do they know of mourning? A black dress is for parties and special events! Not for saying goodbye to your baby. They had a hard time saying good bye too. I'm sure they couldn't fathom closing the lid on that tiny casket for the last time. Learning to grieve should come in concentric circles from the outside in - by watching your parents grieve for their parents, and perhaps as friends slowly lose their parents. This couple today was learning one of life's hardest lessons in one of the most difficult ways. That made it all the sadder.
As of today I have given away all of my copies of Mothers' Manual . I will have to buy some more and then carefully turn back the corner of page 89 so that each grieving mom can find this prayer:
Mary, my mother, obtain for me, I beg you, the grace of a holy resignation. Obtain for me the grace to understand this trial which is so hard for me to bear. I know that God in his all-wise providence has seen that it is for the best. Yet it is hard for me to bear the grief I feel. I come too you,dear mother, comforter of the afflicted and constant aid of those who trust in you. I know that you can obtain for me the peace and resignation that I seek. I confide in you entirely in this my tribulation and sorrow. You know the meaning of a mother's love, and can understand the dept of my affliction. Be to me a tender and protecting mother. For now, dear Mother Mary, I feel more than ever the need of your motherly love and sweet consolation.
Mary sorrowing, Mary of all Christians, pray for us!
If I buy five more, I hope that I can end the year with all five of them.