Sad little corners of our hearts are full of holes we can never fill; small dark places shaped in a fashion that only one special being could ever fit. With time, the sharpest, most raw and ravelled edges are smoothed… much of the time. But the hole remains forever.
We once witnessed this kind of grief and loss by a cow mourning her dead baby. High on a hill where she had given birth to her lifeless offspring, she cried… loud and long bellows of agony, interspersed with low moans as she licked and licked that lost soul as if sheer willpower alone could restore life. She would allow no-one near her to comfort or even distract her with feed and water. Three days and nights her obvious pain continued. And then she walked away. It was done. But that specific spot in that particular paddock would give her pause for a small quiet time before a long sighing kind of moan seemed to set her free to move on. There were more calves for her, but this one? We had no doubt of that special hole left forever in her heart.
My mother had a similar experience after she lost a toddler of 22 months, who came home after a long illness, believed to be recovered – only to unexpectedly die in her arms. She held him for his last breath and in a sad little corner of her heart until the day she died 57 years later. I was told she nearly lost her mind with her grief, until the combined encouragement of our family doctor and my father convinced her another baby was the only solution to her empty arms – and a wonderful start to shrinking and smoothing the edges of that special hole in her heart, as well. I can vouch for the truth of this healing. I was that baby and my mother would share the story of her pain and her recovery with me in great detail over the many years we shared.
It was only recently I heard the name for babies like the ones I’ve mentioned – it’s ‘Rainbow Babies’. Believing and loving the Rainbow Bridge concept for reunion with beloved animals after death as I do, I guessed what the name indicated. When I asked Google, “What is a rainbow baby?”one of the most beautiful answers was a sweet mention of the name especially remembering –
‘…all those babies born sleeping, or we’ve carried but never met; those we’ve held but couldn’t take home, and the ones that came home but didn’t stay.’
And I thought again of my small brother. When he came home the first time, all seemed exactly right through his early babyhood in the most loving family imaginable. When he came home the second time (also from hospital but this time following his terrible, isolating illness), he couldn’t stay even 24 hours. It has always been the strangest of feelings… this knowing I would probably never have existed without him leaving that special space for me.
‘Like the miracle of a rainbow after a storm, a rainbow baby is one that is born after the loss of another. Rainbows don’t erase storms, but they symbolize HOPE.’
God surely does work in mysterious ways.
OMP Admin Note: Christine Larsen is a writer, farmer, wife, mother, and grandmother from Australia. She has never been homeless or had significant cancer – yet – but has had exposure to both – creating a great sense of empathy and desire to help in any way she can. She is humbled by the opportunity to give one of her stories to the sincerely worthwhile causes of Cancer research and Homelessness.
To find out more about Christine and her work:
Christine Larsen, Author
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