Preciousness of moments, sweet cognisance of time,
Holding our angel in my arms, imagine his spirit shine!
Contemplate grace magnified, his little body at rest,
To know our Lord holds him, like my hands are his body’s nest.
Lusciously perfect in our minds, the very substance of our hearts,
The moment he was conceived, our love affair had its best of starts,
Gorgeous little man of ours, who swept us off our feet,
Now he is finally with us, and his race is now run, complete.
Finest little fingers, and toes that show God’s best work,
His ears, his eyes, his tummy, perfection, not one sign of a quirk,
Muscliest little thighs with potential beyond work it seems,
His calves will never burn, his long feet will never realise dreams.
Blessing us only for a few short months, heaven’s best for our display,
Hold him, kiss him, and enjoy him, he’ll lay with us today,
His condition was far too challenging, somehow far too good for Earth,
We find it as we hold him, his life was always of a heavenly birth!
We covet the minute tightly, and defend the hour with might,
His delicate little body is ours, yet his spirit has taken flight,
Bodily comfort is our foil just now, as we take in what can be,
Fleeting moments of sorrow just now, soon he we’ll no longer see.
“It is well.” As those words to the song rang out of the obstetrician’s phone in theatre, tears of eternity’s longing streamed down our faces. It is well, because it is not. Because we can’t fix it, only God in his grace can.
We longed to be with our little one – both to become acquainted with his listless body and to know him as God alone now does. What we longed for we received.
Our cherub, Nathanael Marcus, was delivered lifeless, yet he was, in our estimation of things, the essence of God’s work: a gift (Nathanael is Hebrew for ‘given of God’) and always destined an eternal being (Marcus is Hebrew for ‘shining’; of eternal purity).
Washing the vernix caseosa from Nathanael’s hair and skin proved a difficult task, but not one without its purpose. As I gently caressed his skin with soap, God gave me the opportunity of tactile stimulus and response. The longer I washed him, the more I held him, the more I watched my ever-enduring wife – post-Caesarean Section – stroke his head, the more I saw him as God does: a gift to us and the world, but destined always an eternal being, as are we all.
We are so thankful for the opportunity to be Nathanael’s parents. He will always be ours. For those who love us, he will always be yours, too. Most of all, he is God’s now, and we wait for him to finally greet us when we are called home.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.
As I typed the words of the last paragraph I had Nathanael cradled in my left arm.