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Writing prompt: use a poem as a starting pointI read this poem recently and loved the imagery and sensory details, the full sense of spring and life and death.

This line stuck with me:

New life heals lost life

Does it? I could argue both ways.

I could tell you about how having a baby one year after my first baby died broke me open to joy again. Or how the everyday life things—diapers and feeding and soothing—took the place of life and death issues. How even as I continued to grieve deeply and fully and actively, I had to focus on life, the new little life that needed me.

I could tell you that now, almost eight years since I became a mother, seven and a half since I became a grieving one, that I am healed—and not.

Here’s the thing: there is great joy in my life. I love my girls fully and deeply. And I miss their brother. I wonder who he would have been. I wonder who I would have been as his mother if he were here. I’m not stuck in what would have been, but sometimes something within me is stuck. And then I break open again. Things move. Life happens.

New life heals lost life.

This line at another time would have filled me with anger. One life does not replace another. But new life does bring its own wonder and joy and energy. It doesn’t replace, but yes, maybe it heals.

***

This time of year is full of new life: the yellow spills down the forsythia bush, the hops and rhubarb expand daily, my garlic has turned from single small spikes to little green v’s. I water where I’ve laid down seeds and count the days until I cut spinach and lettuce for a salad. Its a time of growth. It’s a time of possibility and potential.

This time of year, I mark the growth—the violet plants greening my garden, the tulips swelling before bloom, the little girl who once chatted with me in the garden today a teenager, the baby I brought to story hour at the library in her car seat now walking there with her preschool class—and hold the potential of the seeds and once baby turned preschooler with time racing her toward teenager.

Late April, early May I am so aware of the potential around me and I remember the potential that was in me. Even having that potential cut short, I believe in life. I believe that the seeds I sow will sprout and grow. I believe that the baby turned preschooler will grow to be a teenager like the one I walked down the driveway to say happy birthday to this morning. I believe that they will keep going, keep growing.

This time of potential, this time of new life, this time of hope. It keeps coming, keeps growing, and I watch it unfold. I keep growing and hoping and opening to that potential.


New life heals lost life. What do you think?