I went to a beautiful tenebrae service tonight with my friend Roxy at a church in downtown St. Paul. (Our husbands stayed home to babysit.) These services are so powerful and haunting. Little by little, through the readings and hymns and prayers, the lights were extinguished, and as the final candle was carried out, there was the sound of a rumbling, thunderous earthquake. We sat in that noise, in complete darkness, and I felt so small and desolate and moved to tears.
As a new mother, imagining Mary's pain as she watched Jesus die strikes a chord with me this year as it never has before. One of the readings tonight was from a burial ode attributed to St. John of Damascus. I can't find it online, or I would have printed part of it here. It spoke of how Mary once held the infant Jesus close to her as she rocked him to sleep, and how now she held his lifeless body close to her. I had tears in my eyes when it was over, and Roxy turned to me and we mouthed to each other, "So sad."
It is the second time this week that I have had this kind of sadness on my mind. A couple of nights ago, I dreamed that I lost Daniel. He was playing with another little boy, and they disappeared, and no one could tell me where they were. We ran around frantically looking for them. In the dream, my emotions were so strong as I faced the possibility of never again seeing his sweet, beautiful smile, never again holding him in my arms. That anguished sense of loss was the most powerful part of the dream. At some point, people were telling me we needed to start planning the funeral. On an impulse, I walked down a hill toward a big lake, and the girl with me said she noticed some strange bubbles in one section. I looked, and there, lying at the bottom of the clear lake were Daniel and the other boy. I could see his little blue and green Robeez so clearly. At first I thought they must have been dead, but then I thought the bubbles might be signs that they were still alive. As I prepared to jump in and pull them out of the water, my mind (now waking up) was determined to believe that they were alive. They had to be. Still, I woke up and stared at the outline of Daniel's sleeping body for a long time, tears coming out of my eyes, and I wasn't so cranky when he woke us up later, crying to be fed.
So with that, on this Good Friday, my heart goes out especially to all women who have lost sons.