A Child Loaned

On Friday morning we returned to Dr. E for a check up. Bean had grown since Tuesday and was quite the little gymnast. Our sweet Peanut had stopped growing and had no heartbeat. We left the doctor’s office and headed for the Okanogan Mountains, where we stayed in the beautiful home of a woman whose life was unexpectedly cut short. There was something soothing about being in Chris’s quiet, sturdy log cabin—something welcoming there.

Cabin in the woods

Students attending a local wilderness school have maintained the land and homestead. They keep a daily log of the comings and goings of the wrens, hummingbirds, chipmunks, coyotes, and bears. Beneath the log I found a stack of papers, at the top of which was this poem.

A Child of Mine

I will lend you, for a little time,
A child of mine, He said.
For you to love the while he lives,
And mourn for when he’s dead.
It may be six or seven years,
Or twenty-two or three.
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for Me?
He’ll bring his charms to gladden you,
And should his stay be brief.
You’ll have his lovely memories,
As solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there,
I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked the wide world over,
In search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes,
I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love,
Nor think the labour vain.
Nor hate me when I come
To take him home again?
I fancied that I heard them say,
‘Dear Lord, Thy will be done!’
For all the joys Thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter him with tenderness,
We’ll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we’ve known,
Forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him,
Much sooner than we’ve planned.
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And try to understand.

-Edgar Guest

In the midst of the last 10 days’ torrent of medical exams we learned that the exchange of blood between a mother and her baby leaves fragments of the baby’s DNA circulating in the mother’s blood; mothers carry each of their children’s DNA forever. It’s comforting to know a part of Peanut will always be with us.

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8 responses to “A Child Loaned

  1. What a lovely sweet/sad poem–and amazing that you should find it on top of the pile like that. Glad you had the time at the cabin. And thinking of all of you as you find your way through this complicated time.

  2. We lift your sweet family up during this time. The life journey is scary and wonderful and amazing and fearful all at the same time. Thank you for allowing us to share in your journey – you are 2 of the bravest women I know!

  3. Pingback: Trust Fall | mothershood

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