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the garden of innocence in February February 22, 2007

Posted by guinever in christianity, death, grief, healing, loss.
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plastic daffodils in a metal vase attempt to defy the season but fail
snow barely covers the brownish grass; it will be gone tomorrow
the trees are barren except the evergreens
the sky is gray; a plastic windmill twirls
a little bitty American flag peeks out of the mud
heart-shaped mylar balloons remind us that it was Valentine’s day
smiling teddy bears are all over, looking stupid to me
the wind blows, forcing birthday balloons against the ground
one little decorated Christmas tree remains, forgotten from December
a bundle of dozen roses rots
flat gravestones cover the ground; more are always being added
because babies keep on dying

it’s very cold and I’m making these observations from inside my vehicle

this is the “garden of innocence,” a place where babies and young children are buried–the place where my daughter is buried

The past six months, my visits to the cemetery have been infrequent, compared to how often I used to come. And my recent visits have been out of a sense of obligation–like I have to go and pick the leaves and mud off the gravestone and make sure it’s still there. This time of year is so ugly to me at the cemetery. If we actually had some snow, I would feel differently, but for now I’m waiting for Spring, for the colors to come back and when it does, I will go to the cemetery often again–not to mope and cry and feel sorry for myself, but to see God’s beautiful world and to let my kids feed the ducks and see the turtles and run and drink in the scent in the gardens of flowers.

As we were leaving, a police car pulled up and stopped. My boys watched with interest as this man in uniform got out of his car, walked a little, and then knelt down in the grass. Both Caleb and Alex asked me why a policeman was there. They wondered what he was doing. I said maybe his baby died. They both said, “oh,” and said no more.

Strong men in uniform lose their kids too. No one is immune.

He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 25:8 (NAS)

Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
Shall I redeem them from death?
O Death, where are your thorns?
O Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion will be hidden from My sight. Hosea 13:14 (NAS)

But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable,
and this mortal will have put on immortality,
then will come about the saying that is written,
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory,
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;
I Corinthians 15:54-56 (NAS)

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