In the weeks following Anna and Abby going to Heaven hundreds of cards and letters flooded our mailbox. I remember sitting with them, unopened, wondering how I was ever going to get through them all. I would sit each night opening just a few, because that was all my heart could bare.
We were the family receiving the dreaded sympathy card. I remember sitting amongst them in total disbelief that we were on the receiving end and these written words were intended for us.
“I’m so sorry for your loss.” People shared their memories, thoughts and condolences.
These cards were from friends, family, old classmates, parents, children and complete strangers – all wanting to take just an ounce of our pain away. I remember feeling so loved and cared for as I read each one, still in complete shock of my reality.
One letter that we received has come to my thoughts many times over the past 4 years. I remember standing in the kitchen the first time I read it and remember exactly how it made my heart feel.
The sender, someone that we did not know, shared of her own loss. Two children, first her son (9) then her daugther (16), many years ago. It was the next line in the letter that I remember most.
“My son would be 54 and my daughter 53.”
I remember my heart sinking ~ 45 years. I remember thinking that there was no way I could survive all those years without my girls. No way!
She included a poem that was given to her by her son’s teacher and also her phone number in case I needed someone to talk to. I never called but have thought of her many times as each day without passes.
Today, while chatting with a girlfriend at the grocery store, a woman approached us and asked if she could give me a hug. She said that I didn’t know her but she knew who I was. She told me that after my girls went to Heaven she sent me a letter with a poem.
Immediately I knew it was her, still surviving.
She told me she included her phone number because she had no one to talk to when her children went to Heaven. She wanted to make sure that I knew I wasn’t alone. Her number was a lifeline for me if I needed it. Immediately my heart was full of gratitude and connection.
I needed her lifeline today.
Tonight I found her letter and there it was, the poem and the number that I know I will call soon.
I’ll Lend You a Child
By Edgar A. Guest
“I’ll lend you for a little time a child of mine,” He said.
For you to love – while she lives
And mourn for when she’s dead.
It may be six or seven years
Or twenty-two or three,
But will you, till I call her back,
Take care of her for Me?
She’ll bring her smiles to gladden you,
And should this stay be brief
You’ll have her lovely memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise she will stay,
Since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked this world over
In search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd
Life’s lanes, I have selected you.
Now will you give her all your love,
Nor count the labor vain,
Nor hate Me when I come to call to
Take her back again?”
I fancied that I heard them say,
“Dear Lord, Thy will be done,
For all the joy Thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter her with tenderness,
We’ll love her while we may,
And for the happiness we’ve known
Forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for her
Much sooner than we’ve planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that come
And try to understand.”