Before and After

Oh, Natalie.
I remember trying to describe this once.
How pictures from Before
bring such an onslaught of feelings,
such a mix of emotion.
My After-self gazes with tenderness
longing, yearning, sorrow
when I see pictures
of my innocent, unsuspecting Before-self.
I trace her face with my fingertip
and whisper sweet condolences.
Though my heart yearned for your understanding,
in all my aching prayers for freedom from grief's isolation,
did I think that your understanding,
your empathy
would one day be this full . . .
. . . this excruciating.
My heart lifts in gratitude
as I watch yours open so fully,
and your soul rise so sweetly
in love for He who walks this path with us.
I have prayed for these blessings in your life
from the moment I first kissed your beautiful little face.
never did I imagine
my prayers would be answered in

If I had known . . .
Would I have tried to spare you ?

But we did know, didn't we?
And we chose not to change a thing.
How great the wisdom and the love
that called for our vote before
and not after
the Plan was set in motion.

Again life's double edged sword,
the opposition in all things:
It's dizzying
to feel so sorry
and yet so grateful
all in the same heartbeat.

Please feel both from me.
I love you so.


Allison said...


I am not good with words, so I hope this makes sense. I came to your blog today. I lost my mom a year ago to breast cancer at the age of 55. We were very close and she played a BIG role in our family, so the loss has been felt. About 10 months after she passed my cousin (who is my mom's niece from her sister- who is tons like my mom) found out she is pregnant with her 3rd child (a boy). This baby has a rare and unexplanable defect so that there is a hole in his head in which the brain is pulling out. Diagnosis: the baby is healthy in every way so will most likely carry to full term but will not live much after he is born. My cousin found Natalie's blog, she emailed Natalie and this blog was emailed back. My cousin forwarded this to me. I read through some of these posts and was so comforted at the wisdom and experience and love a mother gives. Again- I felt love and peace that only a mother brings, even in times of distress. Haven't felt that for a while. I wanted to say Thank you. My cousin has commented a few times that she feels like my mother is by her, I believe she is. My aunt is my surogate mother on earth, while hopeully my mom will be the comfort and surrogate person to hold my cousin's baby at the end of his journey. I guess the common thread here between us all is loss, the difficulties, the miracles, the peace, and sorrow all made ok through testimony. Thank you (and Natalie) for sharing courage and testimony. I have 2 kids of my own, and hope to weather life's storms as you have so then I can better help and feel for them. Sorry to be so lengthy- I couldn't access your email! I just wanted to say thank you for your insights.

Holly-girl said...

Found your blog thru Natalie's and have been following for a few weeks and reading your older posts. I just want you to know that you have an exquisitive gift of expression. Your writing is so tender, beautiful and lovely. Oftentimes, I have to read and re-read your pieces just to let all that goodness soak in even further. Thank you for sharing your gift and your life in words.
Take care,