Not the one who takes up his bed and walks
But the ones who have known him all along
And carry him in —
Their shoulders numb, the ache and stoop deeplocked
In their backs, the stretcher handles
Slippery with sweat. And no let-up
Until he’s strapped on tight, made tiltable
And raised to the tiled roof, then lowered for healing.
Be mindful of them as they stand and wait
For the burn of the paid-out ropes to cool,
Their slight lightheadedness and incredulity
To pass, those ones who had known him all along.
~ Seamus Heaney
I don’t dream of a miracle for Moy Moy very often. We are so accustomed now to the life we have with her, so aware of our luck and our good fortune, so grateful for all that she has brought and still brings to our world, that hoping for a miracle seems more like a betrayal than a prayer.
But sometimes, sometimes . . .
Oh just admit it! Sometimes I dream.
Many years ago, when Moy Moy still had a few words, but was losing them almost visibly, we went out to dinner with an old friend. Somehow, we got to telling her stories of Moy Moy as young child and the funny things she once said, once did. Story after story, joke after joke! As a little girl, Moy Moy had an enchanting and sprightly sense of humor and she had loved playing tricks.
That evening, in the restaurant, Moy sat and listened intently to each story. She clearly enjoyed the attention and the pleasure we all took in her past. Her eyes followed the person talking (we all took turns – we each had our favorite to share) to the others listening and back again and sometimes she laughed out loud.
Then suddenly, with no warning, she began to cry. We sat stunned, helpless to comfort her for what we suddenly understood must be an enduring grief: what she has lost! It was only then that we realized that while her decline was a tragedy for us, for her it was catastrophic.
And so, every now and then, so very infrequently, I allow myself to dream of a miracle – for all of us.
Our shoulders are numb and the ache and stoop is deep-locked in our backs. But she is aware of us carrying her and she would rather walk too.
Be mindful of us all. We are all waiting.