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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sad (07/26/07)

TITLE: A Tale of Two Mothers
By Debbie Roome


It was a raw, blustery day in early spring. The kind of day that belonged to winter. A sprinkling of snow had fallen overnight and the cemetery was pristine in its purity. I headed to the saddest section of graves. The resting place for little ones who had departed this world too early. Several angels watched over them, wings weathered and mossy with lichen, their faces cherubic. Five rows from the back wall and nine head stones across. That was the position of Michaela’s grave. My boots crunched as I crossed the virgin snow and knelt in my usual spot. Snow had begun to fall again, lacey drifts, gusting in the wind.

I knelt next to Michaela’s grave and carefully arranged the daffodils and snow drops next to the headstone. How many times had I knelt here and read those words? I traced my finger across them again.

Michaela Anne Robinson
Born too soon
Died 3rd August 2002
Aged 7 hours
Dearly loved daughter of Cindy and Joe

“Michaela.” I whispered. “I’ve come to say happy birthday and I’ve brought you a gift this year.” I slipped a gloved hand into my coat pocket and brought out a photograph. “This is your baby brother. Luke Josiah, born just seven weeks ago. He looks like you, but bigger and stronger.” A tear tracked down my cheek. “You would adore him, Michaela. I’m so sorry you couldn’t be here to meet him.” I tucked the picture into the midst of the flowers.

Luke’s birth had been a healing moment for me. Reassurance that I could carry a baby to term. After Michaela’s death, I’d vowed to never have another child. Eventually, Joe called in help, unable to cope with my sorrow and grief. Miriam had sat with me, hour after hour as I ranted and raved. As I questioned the fairness of life. She understood my feelings as her sweet baby boy had died at three months. A victim of cot death.

Snow flurries swept across the graves, sprinkling the daffodils with soft powdery flakes. “I love you Michaela.” I whispered as I patted the head stone. “You’ll always be in my heart.”

I spotted her as I made my way back to the path. A young woman in a thick coat with a fur-lined hood. She was almost prostrate next to one of the tiny graves. A new grave. Under the frosting of snow was a mound of bare earth. In summer, green lawn would spring up, but for now it was barren. Just like her heart must be. I walked on quickly, recalling the agony I had felt when Michaela had died. Remembering the only time I held her. Our tiny, shrunken human, draped in folds of translucent skin.

I looked back over my shoulder. The woman lay prone, oblivious to the snow and damp. What could I do to help her?

I walked on, suddenly anxious to get home. To speak to Miriam who was watching Luke. “Won’t you go and speak with her?” I implored. “She needs someone to be with her.”

Miriam smiled gently. “Why don’t you go, Cindy? Luke is fast asleep and I’ll stay and look after him.”

My mouth opened to refuse, but I closed it as unfamiliar thoughts flashed through my mind. Maybe I can honour Michaela’s memory by doing this. I can reach out and help others through what she’s taught me.

Miriam prodded a little. “It’s time Cindy. You’ve healed enough to be able to help others now. Go back and see if she’s still there.”

And so I pulled on my coat and headed back into the flurries. Walking faster and faster. Almost afraid she would be gone. I found her lying stretched out over the grave. It was too soon for a head stone and the grave was marked by a simple cross with a blue ribbon curled around it. I read the brass plaque.

Benjamin Ryan Slade
July 28th 2007
6 days old

Her shoulders were heaving with grief as I hesitantly knelt next to her and grasped one of her hands. It was several moments before she turned her head, the rawness of her soul, spilling from her eyes. I sat down in the snow. “Tell me about him.” I said. “Tell me about your son.”

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This article has been read 1214 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Loren T. Lowery08/02/07
This is wonderfully written about one of the most difficult things a parent can endure. I think one of the hardest things in the world is to find the courage to try again for another child after one has been lost in birth - I know this from personal experience, and I know too how comforting it was to have someone to kneel beside you and understand...
Joanne Sher 08/02/07
The grief is so authentic, so real. This was incredibly moving and heartbreaking. Masterfully crafted.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/02/07
It would be hard to find a sadder one than this exceptionally well crafted story.
Lynda Schultz 08/03/07
Beautifully done.
Mo 08/03/07
Very sad; made me teary. But I like that they have help... it gives it a bit of hope, too.
Linda Watson Owen08/03/07
Beautifully crafted. The ending is perfect. This bittersweet story is heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time.
Dee Yoder 08/03/07
Beautiful example of how we can learn to be comfort and hope to others once we ourselves have coped with death. A great story.
Phyllis Inniss08/04/07
A very moving entry. It brought tears. Understanding another's pain is easier when you've experienced a similar one.
valerie chambers08/04/07
I can see whay you are a Master writer.
Janice Fitzpatrick08/07/07
I am so glad that you wrote this hon as it speaks volumes to the many who have faced this ordeal. this is not only such a heart rending peice but also one that gives hope and a truth. While it doesn't change the circumstance or hurt we have faced when we reach out to otehrs we too are restored and while Satan would like to use a heartache to bring us away from one another and the Lord, making us think it will always be "wointer" it is God who gently uses our pain and His promises to reach out to others and prove that in "Spring" will come again. How masterfully written and Spirit led this wonderful story came about. I adore this piece. Thank you. God bless and keep up the tremendous writing.(Now while writing, my eys are finally drying but I was faling apart while reading this as many of my loved ones have faced this painful experience.) Janice
Kristen Hester08/09/07
This is wonderful. So tender and sad but beautiful. I love how she realizes she can have a ministry to others who have lost a child because she understands. Blessings.

And congratulations on making EC! This deserves it!
Seema Bagai 08/09/07
I have a friend who went through something similar and I'm going to send her your piece. Congratulations on the win!
Gina Woods08/09/07
WOW! That about says it all! Congrats! ~Gina
Sheri Gordon08/16/07
Congratulations. This is so beautiful -- a real tear-jerker. You did a great job of conveying the emotions.