Sunday, March 2, 2008

Benjamin's 4-month birthday

Many and delightful had been her shore rambles, sometimes with Gilbert, sometimes with Captain Jim, sometimes alone with her own thoughts and new, poignantly-sweet dreams that were beginning to span life with their rainbows.
Benjamin would be four months old today. I love that age, when babies are so chubby and smiley. Not sitting up yet, but maybe starting to get a tooth or two, and just as charming and delightful as can be. I wonder what he will look like when he is four months' old?

Anne, her pale face blanched with its baptism of pain, her eyes aglow with the holy passion of motherhood, did not need to be told to think of her baby. She thought of nothing else. For a few hours she tasted of happiness so rare and exquisite that she wondered if the angels in heaven did not envy her. "Little Joyce," she murmured, when Marilla came in to see the baby. "We planned to call her that if she were a girlie. . . . Oh, Marilla, I thought I was happy before. Now I know that I just dreamed a pleasant dream of happiness. This is the reality."

I have always loved "Anne Shirley" since I first discovered the books in my middle school years. I remember reading these passages from "Anne's House of Dreams" when I was younger, and feeling so sad for Anne, and so grateful that "things like that don't happen anymore." Nowadays babies are born healthy and mothers don't die in childbirth. . . .most of the time. How naive I was. I wish I still were.

At sunset the little soul that had come with the dawning went away, leaving heartbreak behind it. Miss Cornelia took the wee, white lady from the kindly but stranger hands of the nurse, and dressed the tiny waxen form in the beautiful dress Leslie had made for it. Leslie had asked her to do that. Then she took it back and laid it beside the poor, broken, tear-blinded little mother.
"The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, dearie," she said through her own tears. "Blessed be the name of the Lord." . . .
Later Marilla, trying desperately to comfort Anne, says:

"We can't understand--but we must have faith--we must believe that all is for the best. I know you find it hard to think so, just now. But try to be brave--for Gilbert's sake. He's so worried about you. You aren't getting strong as fast as you should."

"Oh, I know I've been very selfish," sighed Anne. "I love Gilbert more than ever--and I want to live for his sake. But it seems as if part of me was buried over there in that little harbor graveyard-- and it hurts so much that I'm afraid of life."

"It won't hurt so much always, Anne."

"The thought that it may stop hurting sometimes hurts me worse than all else, Marilla."

"Yes, I know, I've felt that too, about other things. But we all love you, Anne. Captain Jim has been up every day to ask for you--and Mrs. Moore haunts the place--and Miss Bryant spends most of her time, I think, cooking up nice things for you. Susan doesn't like it very well. She thinks she can cook as well as Miss Bryant."

"Dear Susan! Oh, everybody has been so dear and good and lovely to me, Marilla. I'm not ungrateful--and perhaps--when this horrible ache grows a little less--I'll find that I can go on living."
I am finding that the ache does grow a little less, although certain things trigger a recurrence of raw grief. I am doing my best to go on living. I have realized that I can't let my grief over not getting to have Benjamin with me now keep me from enjoying my other sons. This is my only chance to watch them grow up. Later I will have the chance with our 4th son. So I really am trying to find happiness now in the 3 we do still have with us, and not miss the joyful events of their childhood.

Today, though, I remember our precious few hours with Benjamin four months ago, and take time to cry a little, and to wonder about what it will all be like when I can touch him and feel his weight in my arms again.

5 comments:

Mom/Nana/A. Nancy said...[Reply to comment]
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mom/Nana/A. Nancy said...[Reply to comment]

Wow! What beautiful words L.M. Montgomery penned! Thank you for sharing your intimate thoughts with us. I called about the service project I want to do in Benjamin's honor but had to leave a message--wanted to be able to tell you today. Oh, well. I hope you like it. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

The Grand High Budge Mom said...[Reply to comment]

I love you, Michelle.

Amy said...[Reply to comment]

Oh, I love the Anne series. I'd forgot about those parts. Thank you for sharing!

Mom/Nana/A. Nancy said...[Reply to comment]

I will make a comment on the ones I want to add to the list of helpful quotes, etc. for someone who has lost a little one in this life.