Until today I have not posted an entry on losing a child. The theme deserves much more than a few posts...yet it also deserves not to be omitted. My friend and colleague Roberta Sund has written a brave poem that is as much a testament to indescribable grief as it is to indefinable healing. What depth of soul and hugeness of heart it took for her to respond to the "call." What an extraordinary, forever-gift her courage gave to one young man. Roberta shows us a way of living to aspire to, even as we live with and acknowledge grief. I treasure this jewel of a poem.
by Roberta Faulkner Sund
The call comes at midnight:
Patient actively dying alone
All life support removed.
Can you come to the hospital?
Somehow I know I must.
The young man in the bed
looks eerily like my son,
the son I lost so many years ago.
No chance then for me to
offer comfort or say good-bye
I massage the patient’s hands
and read aloud the 23rd Psalm.
He opens his big brown eyes,
reminiscent of my son’s eyes.
Does he like what I’m reading? He nods.
This precious gift given to me,
to be with him in his last hours,
fills me with humility and gratitude.
Pleasant journey, young man,
Happy to be here for the send-off
Poem, copyright Roberta Faulkner Sund, all rights reserved.
Image, copyright Ysabel de la Rosa.
Roberta holds a degree from Texas Christian University in chemistry and biology. She was a Fulbright Fellow to Germany in the 1950s and later earned her MS degree in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. An award-winning teacher, Roberta has taught in schools in the US and abroad, including Morocco and the UK. Her poems have been published in the Wichita Falls Literature and Arts Review, and The Texas Poetry Calendar, among other publications.
Image description: A lone seagull flies through a cloudless blue sky.