Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)
TITLE: Carved in My Soul
By Debbie Roome
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I know Anna isn’t here. She’s with her Heavenly Father but it’s comforting to sit and talk to her. Maybe angels will carry my words to heaven and drop them like soft whispers in her ears.
“Hello Anna.” I lower myself to the ground and trace my finger across the wavy line on her grave stone – almost like an erratic heartbeat, up and down, up and down. “I know I’ve told you this before, but you’ll always be part of my life.”
My mind drifts back to the day my pregnancy was confirmed. Joy mixed with trepidation overflowed and Sam and I danced round the house together, choosing names, planning the nursery, dreaming of train sets and dolls. It was a day of jubilation and rejoicing.
Four months later, the curve of joy hit the lower end of the graph. The doctor called me in after a routine ultrasound. “I’m terribly sorry, Jess, but it appears your baby has Trisomy 18. If she survives the birth, she won’t live longer than a year. I can book you in for a therapeutic abortion next week.”
“You know what happened next, Anna. We chose to give you life instead. You arrived four weeks early and as I cradled you to my chest, my heart swelled with love I’d never imagined possible. To me you were perfect, a tiny wrinkled bundle with navy eyes and a shock of black hair.
It was a brief glimpse of motherhood and then you were gone, whisked away for tests and assessments. The news wasn’t good and my hopes plummeted as the doctor spoke. Words like kidney problems, defective heart and malformed ears swept through my mind.”
I lean forward and read the verse inscribed under the wavy line on her headstone. “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low.” Isaiah 40:4
“That was God’s promise to me, Anna. I was on an emotional see-saw for months. Worrying about your birth, rejoicing when I held you. Devastated when the doctors said there was no hope, exultant when we took you home. “Defeated when we had to rush you back to hospital, ecstatic when we caught a hint of a smile on camera.”
I lie back into warm grass. Over the months, God helped me to walk a more level path, to take the edge off my emotions and lean into His stability. It was a process, a gradual acceptance of things for what they were.
“I cherished every moment I had with you, Anna. All 47 days. The doctors said you were damaged beyond repair, but you were mine and I loved you. I don’t regret your birth for a single moment. If I could turn history back and live without knowing you, I wouldn’t. God has carved new depths into my soul through being your mother: a new capacity to love and be loved, to suffer, and understand and embrace life.”
I rest my hands on my belly, swollen like a ripe watermelon. “Your little brother will arrive tomorrow, Anna. When he’s old enough, I’ll bring him out here to meet you. I think you’d like that.”
It’s almost time to go but I trace my fingers across the line one more time. “Life is full of ups and downs, Anna, but God can bring balance. One day we’ll be together again and until that time, your memory will live in my heart.”
As I stand, I blow a dozen kisses over her grave and imagine angels swooping down, catching them like fragile petals and showering Anna with my love.
Bible quote from NIV
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