I am re-reading the Harry Potter series as I am seeking nostalgia and a comfortable book series to hide away in. As I read today I was reminded of an important plot point: Harry is protected from the antagonist in the first book as well as every summer of his life when he goes home from Hogwarts because of a powerful magic: when his mother died to save him as a baby, a protection was flung on him that is inexplicable to anyone who doesn’t understand it. It was sacrificial love, and it rescued him from evil by clinging to his very skin.
Perhaps this is a silly comparison, but forgive me. I feel our roles here are reversed, Rowan. When I lost you, I was the one marked by a very strong love. Where you are there is nothing but love. It matters not at all to you how much I love you. But it matters to me. I am marked, even deeply scarred, by an empty, hollow, object-less love. It’s burned into my very skin, and carved into my heart. The day you died I remained a mother but lost the one that made my identity what it was.
But as painful as it is, it is also beautiful. I am a mother. You made me that. You changed everything about me and your heartbeats, not far from mine, are forever stamped into my soul. I think that’s why my stomach hurts and my heart aches and my arms feel empty when I think of you. Science aside, maternal love may as well be its own kind of magic. I am drenched in it. Head to toe, inside and out, drowning in it. I love you with the same fierceness with which I love your father.
Every Tuesday I count the weeks you should have developed. Week 17 is coming up. I should have a little baby bump and be able to find out your gender quite soon. I should have seen your fingers and toes, blurry, on the ultrasound at 12 weeks. I should have heard your heartbeat. It’s so strange to have the love I do without the subject still growing and changing and heart beating inside me. It’s now been nearly six weeks since I lost you and my love for you has only intensified.
I stand on one side of a locked door. God stands on the other. He aches with love for me as I ache for you. But he won’t open the door. I don’t know that I want him to. The door is hard and cold against my back as I lean on it, wishing to be closer to my heavenly father but not ready for him to embrace me lest I have to look him in the face and ask why he took you from me. But he is an omnipresent God, so the door means nothing, really. My very skin tingles with the presence of God everywhere. He is not separated from me by matter. He is within me and around me, beside me and above me. I am too angry to speak to him, or run to him or feel his love. Because I know a very important truth about my God: he is prepared to wrap his arms tightly around me and sink to the floor with me as I sob, and cry with me for the loss of you. This is the kind of God he is. He is a God who has known the loss of a child. He is the God who came and suffered everything a human can suffer. He is not distant or separated by the vast expanse of the universe, let alone a door. He is here, he is love, he is my father. And he cries over my pain too.
I am marked by his love. His blood was shed and in that sacrifice, a “magic,” if you will, covers me too. I am marked by a love even stronger than the love I have for you, Rowan. It carries me and shields me and heals me. I am not untouched by evil and suffering but I am, because I am marked, promised relief and rest. I cannot open the door yet, though. I will rest on this side of it as I work through my grief and my anger and the resulting depression. I can live with my back against the door and know I have only to open it when I’m ready.
I will lean against the door a very changed woman. A childless mother whose maternal love breathes from her very pores, and a hopeless child separated from her father but marked by his love too. Drowning in both kinds of love, wishing I could kiss your little face just once. Is this how God feels when we run from him or simply refuse to ever accept his love? Does he ache for us and miss us and long for us? He must. He is love itself. And his love is not blinded by human weaknesses or chemicals being released in his brain. He is beyond that; his love is pure, the real thing, the original. He loved us more than most of us love anyone in that he died for us to have us back when we strayed.