Lament for a Boy (Jamie Calloway-Hanauer)

This lament is written for Jeremy, Jamie’s son, gone too soon from SIDS. 


Lament for a lost baby

 

Lament

Why, oh God, have you have ripped him from my bosom,
torn him from my womb?

No better than a thief,
you have emptied my stores to fill your own.

You have stolen from me, oh God,
in ways unfitting of your name.

(You sacrificed your Son for me, but don’t think I haven’t noticed
you waited ‘til he was grown.)

You once demanded all firstborn.
I trusted those days were gone, but you have shown me I was wrong.

Oh, creator God. Giver of life and breath, you have rendered me empty—half dead and hanging by a thread.

Who could I be without this misery?
The pain of asking is too much.

You have come like a thief in the night, plundering
butterfly kisses, radiating heat, a neck wrapped tight by little arms.

How, God, can you now demand my trust? My faithfulness?

My palms ache empty, outstretched and longing to be filled.
You have emptied me, Lord, in ways no other could:
You are the breather of life and the taker of life. The power is all yours.

Yet your goodness reigns over all sorrow, filling
cradled arms;
an otherwise empty cup;
and limp-limbed hollow-eyed women
with your righteousness and love.

Filling even
the depths of empty wombs.

You, oh God, are ruler over all.

Draw me nearer, God.
Grow me in your fertile soil. Raise me tall and strong.
Let your goodness weigh heavy in my arms.

I feel your presence, God.

Your goodness resounds deep within my bones. In my teeth and aching hips.
In the knitting of my insides and the fading pangs of birth.

Only you, oh God, know the way ahead.

by Jamie Calloway-Hanauer
illustrated by Corrie Haffly

*************

I wish no mother knew this pain. I hate that Jamie, whom I love so much, has been through this. Jamie is so many things: a friend, a wicked-smart writer, a poet, a lawyer, an editor, a patient encourager. And twenty years later, she is still a grieving mother. Jamie has a tattoo for Jeremy with a line from one of her favorite poems, Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Robert Frost. You can see it and read about tattoos and cardigans here.

4 thoughts on “Lament for a Boy (Jamie Calloway-Hanauer)

  1. I did not want to read this … it makes me ache to my bones, no deeper, in places bone and marrow cannot fathom. But lament demands a witness, deserves one. I don’t know if God will ever, even in life after life-after-death, answer for wounds such as these. I just hope and pray Jamie knows in her lament and grief and questions she is not alone. We faithful followers, we ache and doubt and go unanswered, but at the very least we do it together. This morning because of her poem and your willingness to share, I feel a renewed strength to speak my own pain.

  2. I have to admit that being a man, I can’t feel the pain of this mother, but the poem is so eloquent it is obvious that she feels a deep loss, yet still clings to God. i have experienced physical pain of a high order but at least when it is past it is over, unlike this heart ache which seems to have no end.

  3. I thought this SO powerful: an acknowledgment of such real pain, and yet of such real hope. That both of those can coexist boggles my mind.

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