And a sword will pierce your own soul, also
Mary, what could you have thought of this when prophets spoke of your son’s future, and of your own? It is possible that you knew of your son’s future Passion and death, but could you truly know, as in, understand, the events that would transpire years later? Could you really understand that pierced soul, until you had experienced it?
The baby is measuring small, and the heartbeat is slow
Only weeks prior, I had been awestruck, jubilant, learning that after many months of trying, I was growing a baby inside of me. In a moment, and with one sentence, I was filled with dread, disbelief, and sadness that found no words as a guttural cry burst from the depths of me. Hope and resignation intermingled as they fell in a seemingly unstoppable flow of tears.
Woman, behold your son
In Christ’s final moments, he ministered to his mother. Mary, I wonder, as your son was breathing his last breaths, did your whole life with him play on a reel before your weeping eyes? Did you recall the wonderment of his conception, did you have visceral memory of his first movements in your womb? Did everything within you cry out, the wordless agony of a mother of a dying child? Or were you overwhelmed with peace, with all the strength and surprise of being bowled over by a wave?
Father in heaven, through this holy anointing, grant her comfort in her suffering. When she is afraid, give her courage
Prompted by the Holy Spirit to seek anointing, I felt unspeakable comfort in the hands of my priest, gathering strength from the grace given to me and my child. Though two days later I sensed this small life departing, the peace remained. An ultrasound confirmed that my child’s heart had stopped beating, and I knew my peace surpassed all understanding, for how are we to ever understand loss like this?
Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit
Words fail to capture the crushing agony you must have felt as you witnessed your son leave this world with the flow of blood and water, just as he had entered it.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, be with us sinners, now and at the hour of our death
Memories poured forth from my body like fragments, because fragments are all I had. In blood, and with tears, it was finished.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us. And after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus
Though you no longer enjoyed earth-bound life with your son, your Motherhood was confirmed for all ages. You are the God-bearer, the tabernacle, the Queen Mother who presents our pleas and longings to your son on his heavenly throne. In your goodness, you invite us to participate in carrying the Lord within.
Let it be done to me according to thy word
Two years have passed since my child’s body left mine, and no other has yet entered my womb. And yet, I am a mother. Though my body does not grow with a child inside, my heart grows ever fuller, pregnant with Christ’s presence in me, nourished with Eucharist, given what is needed each day. Perhaps I have a different fiat, to bear fruit from my heart that I cannot bear from my womb.
Come, Holy Spirit, come.
Cayce Farina is a mental health counselor and has been married to her sweet husband, Brian, for 6 years. They are parents to one child in Heaven and run a miscarriage bereavement ministry at their parish. In her spare time, Cayce enjoys baking, singing, musical theatre, and snuggling her two cats.