This poem was written just a few days after my firstborn son was born and as my Grandma Stratton was slowly slipping away from mortality.
Grandma had suffered a stroke that kept her bedridden and unable to speak. But, though no words passed her lips, her eyes were beautiful and eloquent in their love and tenderness. As I lifted my tiny boy child, bringing him near to her, where she could see him, I raised one of her shaky, wrinkled hands and set it gently on his head. She began to cry and I could feel the love for him pour from her eyes onto her pillow. I have had the opportunity to know how powerful a force love can be, and that moment was one of the most profound of my life.
I came home that night and wrote this poem for Grandma. A week later she passed away.
There are times in life when Heaven is all around us here. I’d like to share one of those moments from my life with you.
“To Grandma on Ezekiel’s Birth”
Anxiously I’ve awaited this time of harvest,
Knowing love and faith would finally
Bear fruit and place in my arms a fragile soul.
You awaited this time as eagerly as I, I think;
Knowing how near heaven is when life begins and ends,
Seeing more clearly than I how both keep our family whole.
If my hands were stronger,
I may be tempted to keep these two lives fragile;
One always small and precious,
One always “Grandma”
Here in my arms, near my heart.
But, I would not want to keep you from stepping closer to Heaven,
Though the steps take you out of my reach,
Any more than I would keep my child from knowing love and joy,
Though he’ll become more his own and less “me”.
I hold him up for you to see: my priceless harvest,
The last you will see on this side of the veil.
I place your weak, fragile hand
Upon my son’s tender head
And volumes of love are in your eyes.
Your two souls pass one another,
Both too near Heaven to speak,
Filled with an understanding beyond words
And I glimpse for a moment the beauty of eternal life
Where families are forever
And love never dies.