yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will be afraid


We think of our lives in different ways from ourselves and others like we think of our families in different places but never being too far away from what we may think of as home.

Everyone, on the other hand, acknowledges agreement on the cycle of life we believe in, and that circle we envision shows babies being born to parents who care for and protect their young until they are able to care for themselves, ready to leave to experience life on their own. In this life cycle we envision in our minds, parents will precede their children in death.

Sometimes that picture of a life cycle is cruelly interrupted by a parent’s loss of a child while they, the parents, survive. These parents walk through the valley of the shadow of death as the psalmist wrote in the 23rd Psalm in the Bible and yet I find the Psalm is incomplete for I have witnessed tragic losses that broke the life cycle we expected. Some of those parents who remained were very afraid for their children and themselves. They feared the Evil of Death while they lost their faith in the future.

Many years ago I wrote a poem about women who lose their children – some without warning, some after a short illness, some after an illness that lasted too long – but all out of our expected cycles of life.

Rainy Day Women

Their faces wear grief like blocks of stone.

Their eyes see, and their ears hear,

But they are in a separate place.

The roads they walk are backwards,

And their direction is aimless.

They are the mothers who have lost children.

They weep with no tears.

They mourn without ashes,

Their names are Sorrow and Emptiness.

How can we reach their separate place?

How can we touch the blind and deaf in their grief?

Our words are all we can offer.

Not for a minute, not for an hour, but for as long as they live.

***********

This post is dedicated to Francie Kleckley in memory of her daughter Kathryn.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Nana to her granddaughter Ella James born 10-01-2019. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in family life, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will be afraid

  1. Tony Payne says:

    Nicely written. I can’t imagine losing one of my children. Too much to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda Ketner says:

    Beautifully said. God love Francie as she goes through this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Juanita Jean says:

    Sent this Diane as she too lost her 27 year old son almost 10 years ago, but the pain never goes away.  We all miss him, but remember him with love so often when we see a young man who reminds us of him or a bird in the sky that represents his free flying ways.  His favorite color was green so we always think of him when we see shamrocks and numerous other things.  We will always love our Caleb. So sorry for your loss!We love you,Nita Sent from Mail for Windows From: I’ll Call It Like I See ItSent: Tuesday, February 15, 2022 12:25 PMTo: 41njean@gmail.comSubject: [New post] yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will be afraid Sheila Morris posted: " We think of our lives in different ways from ourselves and others like we think of our families in different places but never being too far away from what we may think of as home. Everyone, on the other hand, acknowledges agreement on the cycle of li"

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Nita – I remember the loss of Caleb, and I should have added the impact of the loss on not just the mothers. What a tragedy for Diane and all of you who were so close to him. My love to you all.

      Like

  4. Wayside Artist says:

    What terrible grief. May those of us who are able provide safe space for grief to express itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. cindy knoke says:

    My husband lost his brother to brain cancer when my husband was 12, and his brother 3. I worked for many years in pediatric oncology. There is nothing in the world as painful as a seriously sick/dying child.
    Is Ella completely recovered? One of my twin grandsons just got diagnosed with covid. I was caring for him yesterday. So life goes…..Never under our control. We are all staying very positive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cindy, I hope your little grandson has a very light case – and yes Ella tested negative again after a few days with minimal symptoms. I wish the same for your grandson…and I hope your vaccines protect you as ours did us during the siege that swept thru our family. Bless your hearts. I’m so sorry, but staying positive helps! Please keep us posted. Love and hugs

      Like

    • Such a difficult loss for your husband at such a young age. I don’t know how you worked in pediatric oncology for any time. I think that would be impossible, but I admire you for it.

      Like

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