Stones of Remembrance II: Flowing Rivers

She uncovered the second stone.

Your love is like the ocean and I am like the sand,
Responding to your power, a safe place for you to stand.
But when the undercurrents come and pull you out to sea,
I am left with shells and slippery rocks where you used to be.

Lines so quietly whispered, they had to listen attentively- so as to catch every word. It was a calming silence that had now filled the room. They tried to make out whose voice it was; an unfamiliar deep and strong one, filling the space that had- for a brief moment- seemed completely lifeless.

The teenagers had taken note of Jacque earlier- when they were busy gathering around the room- but had not noticed the presence of any other person.

The old man got up from the low stool he had been resting in located at the far left corner of the room. The stool had been placed right next to a beautifully decorated window. Over there- at the window, with views to a wild, yet well-kept garden- it seemed tranquil, peaceful; and so did his voice.

It was upon his getting up, his slow movements, his walking to the front, his kissing Ariella’s forehead, his accepting the seat Ariella had moved closer, his sitting down slowly, and his motioning Jacque to come closer, listening to his mellow comforting voice, they understood who he was.

There was a richness that came from his voice, a warmth that spread through their bodies, a fire that burnt in Ariella’s and Jacque’s eyes. Could it be?

****

We burried many.

“Am I not worth more to you than rubies and gold?” I’d ask her, upon which she’d laugh. Sometimes she spoke very little; at other times much on a stretch. Some- who only saw her at either of these moments- never got a true picture of her. She truelly was perfectly balanced. A wonderful home-maker, a committed wife, a faithful believer, my truest friend. But the one thing she was crying to be most, she was not: a mother.

After the still birth, we lost many. Three within the first trimester, three within the second, and two within the third. One would assume you’d get used to it. We didn’t. We never. Every conception offered hope, every loss proved to be a disappointment. Many times- for weeks and months- she’d be in distress: eating little, crying much, praying faithfully, fasting wrecklessly.

“Am I not more to you than many sons?” I’d say, upon which she’d again laugh. Oh, the way she laughed. Her smile so bright, you’d think she’d won the lottery. When she smiled, there was fire in her eyes- a passion that can only be liked to that of Ariella. I have met quite a few persons with beautiful smiles and pure hearts, but none with like-passion.

“You are,” she’d say, “but you will go, even as I will.. and what will remain?” She spoke of legacy, descendants, extensions of ourselves as if the world depended in it. In a way- I was soon forced to understand- she was right.

And so she spoke one day,

Your love is like the ocean and I am like the sand,
Responding to your power, a safe place for you to stand.
But when the undercurrents come and pull you out to sea,
I am left with shells and slippery rocks where you used to be.

It was the first stanza of Lauryn Hill’s Love. She never really explained why she loved it so, but I guess she didn’t have to afterall.

People gave her time.. you know, after the still birth. The first two years, no one asked what was wrong, but soon after- three, four years, they told her to “get over her loss”. They started asking why she hadn’t “borne me any sons”. Friends who had borne many asked her why she was taking so long, beckoning her to “Hurry up, since she still had the strength!”, others mocking her, called her “Amine”, rather than Amina. “After all,” they concluded, “what was a woman without a child? She might as well be a man.”

Amina tolerated much, she wasn’t given to much outside pressure.
She constantly reminded herself of the love she found in me, the comfort she had in God, the joy she would eventually experiece when all the pain was history and she would carry and raise her own child; but when she went to see a doctor for vaginal bleeding, and received a notification requesting to be seen in person, when she asked me to come along, and when the news finally broke, everything changed.

Sometimes she blamed herself for her misfortune.

“You know, the still birth..” and although I wanted to stop her right there, I had learned to patiently allow her voice her opinion, share what was on her mind, express herself. “I was glad. Maybe that is why all this is happening to me. I was glad when the doctor confirmed the child was dead. Maybe, just maybe, if I had felt remose the Lord would have had mercy on me and granted me a child. Maybe, if I hadn’t rejoiced over new possibilities and a new chapter- without the mistake of my past- I would be mother to three, two or at the very least one child.” I understood her pain. There was little I could say to lift her spirits. She desperately needed a child.

“Amina is still in her first stages of cervical cancer. It is good we detected it early. The cancer cells are so far only confined to the cervix, are not larger than 10mm across any point, and there is no sign of cancer in the blood vessels. I suggest we opt for a radical trachelectomy. This will keep the cervix in tact and- crossing all fingers- keeping the chances of her conceiving and carrying out a pregnancy to the end open.”

You see, the doctor had told us right from the start that there were signs Diethylstilbestrol- a medicine she had requested against miscarraiges- could be linked to cervical cancer, but we decided to risk it anyway. He said there was a 94.6% chance all would go well, so we naturally went with it. I worried at times, but what was worry when the other side of the coin suggested hope?

The chemotherapy had just begun. There was a good chance she would recover quickly, the doctor assured us. Amina was still young and rather healthy. Considering she had had a few miscarriages, her body and uterus were in decent shape; she would recover and be fine. However- he wanted to make clear as soon as possible- the chances of her conceiving after the therapy were slimmer now than they were at the start.

“Pregnant?” she asked with a light in her eyes that had been absent for years, and a passion in her voice, I feared I would loose her to a broken heart should it end like the other pregnancies, rather than the cancer. Was it possible? I didn’t want to believe it. I did not want to risk loosing my wife to this. After all, the doctor had made it clear.

That night- however- while I prayed, I heard the Lord say,

Have you forgotten so soon what I promised you? I am not man that I should lie. I do not change, My Word is always the same. Amina will bear you children. Yes, she will! The sacrifice you will make is a great one; but it will bear much fruit.

I did not fully understand, but I knew she would deliver- safely. The cancer was still there- not spreading, but not yet defeated either. The doctors naturally adviced against carrying out the pregnancy: it could be destructive, could endanger the lives of the child and the mother, could result in seriious health issues, even deformities. But I was confident.

You see, by then we had been married for thirteen years. Although most of these years were filled with much laughter and joy, the absence of children had always been a heavy weight upon her shoulders, the reminder of a promise yet to be fulfilled. We decided to believe the Lord’s report. We decided to go ahead.

After the delivery things changed- for the better. The child was well and sound, with no signs of health issues; and Amina was her usual- no, brighter than usual- self. She was active, strong, lively.. she was so glad, and thankful. The girl was beautiful; she was Adi, a jewel.

The years that followed were the best we ever had. We laughed, played, and travelled much. The cancer dictated nothing. She started to write- many poems, I still have them all, some of which were published- and I finally started up my own architecture company; fulfilling a dream I had long forgotten about. It were the best years of our lives. We didnt’t actively try for another child.

At least, not until the week Adi turned six and wished for a baby sister. A wish that became true: a mere month later Amina received the joyful news of yet another pregnancy.

Nine months later she delivered a weak but fighting baby girl: Ariella.

The following day she passed on. I dreaded having to lay this stone.

 

I was hurt, and angry.
I was heart-brokenhad and really did not want to; but I had promised,

Lord, be it unto us according to Your word. I believe you can do it, I believe you will. Be merciful, and grant her the children You have promised her. Wipe away her tears. Bless her with children of her own. Let her nurse children at her breasts and wean them in our home. Then I will testify of your goodness and speak of Your faithfulness.

When I answered the Lord, I forgot about the great price I would have to pay.

***

The stones Ariella had uncovered were plain grey and brown river stones.

Stones they- that is, Elkanah, Amina and Adi- had picked up from their last holiday together. Their last trip to Amina’s favourite location: Matterhorn, right at the border of Switzerland and Italy. The week Amina turned 36, and gave birth to Ariella. The weekend Adi saw her mother for the last, and her sister for the first time.

***

“Adi never travelled again,” Elkanah sighed.

“And she never forgave me,” Arialla added- embarrassed.

Advertisements

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Tyo says:

    My precious lovress,
    Why must it always end on such a sad note? 😦
    Should I worry about you?
    Guess I should check back again next week, prepared to shed some more tears..
    Nice story ..

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Why sad? You’re just being emotional..
      A story is only sad when those affected don’t learn (their fair share of lessons).
      It is not over YET; so don’t conclude too quickly.
      Wait and see the BIG picture lol

      😉

  2. 0latoxic says:

    *clicks on ‘love’ button*

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Am I not more to you than ten sons?” (1 Sam 1: 8)
    So Elkanah 🙂

    I like!

  4. sekastudio says:

    One can take comfort in what you said about the continuity of the story, I look forward to the big picture!

  5. FP says:

    Hey darl..
    Did read it..
    Thought I commented.. Well guess I didn’t..
    Lovely piece but you know that..
    😉

    1. DeMorrieaux says:

      Fran Peeeeeeee!!

      “Lovely piece”…? What a vague statement, but I shall hold my peace.. for now.. :p

      Thanks 🙂

feel free to say something..

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s