Posted by: Louise | July 13, 2012

my brain is crying

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Do you get a say in what your grave will look like?

The boys and I are wandering around an old graveyard. It seems a fitting activity for a wet foggy day in a little old town with a castle by the sea and a church high on a hill behind it. Having spent most of the day in doors, we have ventured out late afternoon to get some air. It is dripping wet air with smells so intense that Astro Boy says it is like when you put your head under your duvet in bed and you can hardly breathe.

Because I have an idea what I would like my grave to look like, Astro Boy continues. (This seems to be a theme with him – opinions on how graves should look.) I shall write it in my will so everyone will know, he decides, to be on the safe side. I have an idea for Laura’s grave too.

I know, sweetheart. I know.

I miss Laura. It was inevitable really, wandering a graveyard in the rain. 

I miss Laura too, the Boy Racer interjects. Because it’s not fair, I really wanted a baby…. and now my brain is crying.

My brain is crying too, but I keep it well covered. I think.

We were away for one of my brothers’ weddings.

One of my many brothers was getting married as opposed to one brother was having yet another wedding. It was a quiet moment at the beginning of a week that built up to a crescendo of family and friends last weekend. I have another sister-in-law. How long I have waited for sisters and now they are coming thick and fast.

My brother asked me to lead the prayers at the wedding ceremony. It meant I had to go to the rehearsal. The service was in a church some distance from where we were staying. It was the church my Mum and Dad were married in and my grandparents went to all their lives. I spotted my grandparents’ grave and wandered over to pay my respects. I used to be a grave avoider. These days they give me comfort. Buried in the grave beside my grandparents (I had forgotten) was my cousin’s first born, a little girl who died as she was being born.

It happened in a time before motherhood had taken over my heart and long, long before I knew the pain of loss. I rushed to pick some wild flowers to put on her grave, to acknowledge her presence and her life. The people all around for the rehearsal were forgotten. As I tied up the flowers with a piece of grass, my niece asked me who the flowers were for. I crumpled. I couldn’t speak.

I told her I couldn’t speak without crumpling. I tried, but I crumpled.

During the rehearsal, I sat down at the back of the church half watching, half lost in a world of last minute sewing for the wedding. It came to the prayers.The minister asked if I wanted to rehearse. I said I was grand, well used to public speaking. (Never say ‘grand’ Louise. Never) He asked me to come up to the front of the church anyway because my brother wanted to add some names to the prayers. I hadn’t read the prayers at all.

Up I went.

There in the midst of all the other prayers was a prayer for the departed, sadly missed. And up there at the front of the church my brother took out his pen and wrote down our grandparents’ names and Laura Grace.

I clutched the piece of paper.

Could I say her name out loud in front of a church full of people and not cry? I could feel the hastily sewn veil between my crying brain and my smiling face begin to tear.

I returned from the church and spent the evening sewing. I daren’t read the prayers.
The stitches held all night and into the wedding day, but only because I told no one what I was going to have to do.

The bride looked radiant. My veil tore.

It turns out I couldn’t say Laura’s name out loud without crying. I didn’t. I can’t. But I said her name out loud. And then we all sang “Amazing Grace” and I crumpled once more.

The sun shone on us all as we left the church. The wedding was beautiful and life continues on…

 

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Responses

  1. This was so vivid and beautiful. Weeping.
    xo

  2. Laura Grace, I say her beautiful name, too.
    Sending you much love

    xx Ines

    PS Beautiful photos

  3. Laura Grace is a beautiful name and this is such a lovely post – life and love and loss and sadness so maddeningly and perfectly entwined. I lost my daughter six months ago and reading the perspectives of those who are ahead of me on this road is reassuring in a way I never thought it would be in the first days and weeks: to know she will always be with me, always be as missed as she is now and maybe more so. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I could feel the hastily sewn veil between my crying brain and my smiling face begin to tear.

    I returned from the church and spent the evening sewing.

    It turns out I couldn’t say Laura’s name out loud without crying. I didn’t. I can’t. But I said her name out loud. And then we all sang “Amazing Grace” and I crumpled once more.

    *****

    Veil torn, here, too. And I love your brother for including her, Laura Grace.

    Laura Grace.

    And grace to you, Mother,

    Cathy in Missouri


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