Thirty years ago today my son died in my arms.
He was just nine years old and would have been ten that April in 1985. I can’t picture myself with a son who would be forty in a month and a half.
He was profoundly disabled and wasn’t expected to live to his second birthday. But he did, thanks mostly to his mother’s care. She will be gone eleven years this April.
He never spoke a word. Never walked. Or crawled. He never looked at us. Every meal he ever ate, we fed him. He never moved on his own from wherever he was placed. He was carried everywhere. For all we knew he was deaf and blind.
His mother would sit with him in his wheel chair on glorious New England summer days. He was included in all of our family adventures and his sisters, aunts and uncles loved him, accepted him as he was and forgot about the prognosis although there was nothing but worry as to what was going to happen to him when we were gone.
And one beautiful morning in February 1985 when we least expected it, he simply woke up and died in my arms.
It was the first time he ever smiled . I like to think he is with his mother and they are patiently waiting for me.
She sits beneath a massive oak
in the Garden of Noble Women.
Garden of the Promise
for those who have borne the burden
yet never heard the Word.
He never walked. He never fed himself.
He could not see the light or hear the sound.
He never said the Word.
And when he died she buried him amidst her tears
in the lands of the Lord Calvert on the road to Padonia.
Now she sits in the quiet of a Summer’s day
waiting for the promise to be fulfilled.
On the horizon a kite and a little boy
running o’er the meadow.
Sun lit mop top hair
dancing in the breeze
Part running part falling toward her
Little fingers of his left hand leading the way
reaching for her
running like a little boy flying a kite.
He is perfection
and as she rises joyfully on young legs
she moves toward him
and sees the face of God.
The same face now perfect in His image.
And from his laughing face she hears the Word
The Word God promised
to those who bore the burden
yet never heard the word.