Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Inspiration/Block (for the writer) (05/20/10)
TITLE: Baby Rose’s Eulogy
By Debbie Roome
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â€śStruggling?â€ť Rick asked as he came up behind me.
â€śLike you canâ€™t believe. Itâ€™s so important I get this right but the words just wonâ€™t come.â€ť
He dropped a kiss on my head. â€śIâ€™ll pray.â€ť
A few minutes later he came back with a delicate pink rose in a cut-glass vase. A pale ribbon curled around its stem. â€śI thought this might inspire you.â€ť
Tears welled as I focused on blushing petals and breathed sweet fragrance. â€śThis was Rose.â€ť I whispered. â€śLord, help me to capture her essence in words.â€ť
The church was a mass of white lilies, caring friends and grieving family members. Roseâ€™s tiny coffin lay alone at the front.
â€śIâ€™d like to invite Chelsea up to give the eulogy this afternoon.â€ť The pastor moved aside as I joined him on the platform. â€śChelsea is best friends with Jack and Maria and has been a great support to them at this difficult time.â€ť
I unfolded my paper and prayed as I started to speak. â€śRosalie Bianca Howard was born six weeks and five days ago. Her parents were given the option of aborting her at twenty weeks but they chose to give her a chance.â€ť
I paused and looked around the church. Some people looked disapproving but others nodded. Jack and Maria clung to one another, tears glistening. I bent down and drew a cut-glass vase from under the pulpit.
â€śIâ€™d like to compare Rose to this rose bud my husband brought me yesterday. Itâ€™s not attached to the bush and has no chance at a long life ... but that doesnâ€™t mean I should throw it away.â€ť I brushed a finger across its soft petals and thought of the little baby. â€śRose was born with Trisomy 13 and Jack and Maria knew she wouldnâ€™t live long. In spite of that, they welcomed her into their arms, hearts and lives.â€ť
A sob threatened and I swallowed hard, trying to compose myself. â€śWe all love cut flowers and fill our homes with them in summer. Rose was a blessing to all of us while she was here. She loved unconditionally and her fragrance filled our senses.â€ť I could almost feel her tiny frame cuddled into the crook of my arm, almost see her navy eyes as they roamed my face. She had been such a sweet baby, so tiny, so fragile.
â€śRose was a flower from heaven that was ours to hold and enjoy for a short time. The memories, however, will linger forever.â€ť I paused again and searched the crowd, locking eyes with people here and there. Some of the frowns had softened and several women were crying.
â€śItâ€™s a hard thing to love a child and know that your time with her is limited. I salute Jack and Maria for their courage in allowing Rose to be born. I salute them for loving her wholeheartedly. I salute them for being the very best parents they could be.â€ť I turned my gaze to them. â€śYouâ€™ve done an outstanding job, guys.â€ť
Then I turned my eyes back to the crowd. â€śJack and Mariaâ€™s job is done but ours is just beginning. Theyâ€™re going to need our support and love for many months to come. Make time to visit or give them a call and donâ€™t be afraid to speak of Rose. Sheâ€™s had an impact on all our lives and we need to acknowledge that. We need to remember her with love and joy.â€ť
I carefully took the rose from the vase, the ribbon curling around the stem as the pastor began to pray. I walked across to Jack and Maria and gently placed it in their hands. â€śNever forget that Rose is safe in Godâ€™s hands.â€ť I whispered. â€śAnd He loves you very much.â€ť
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