About halfway back, we stopped at an old, beautiful church. It was perched high atop a hill and had the most spectacular view of the ocean.
The church dated back to the early 1800s, if I recall correctly. There were stone ruins from where the pastor lived way back when. Sunday services are still held at this church.
Around the back of the church, there was a small burial ground for some of the church parishioners. Some of the graves were very rudimentary, just piles of stones, others were more "formal" gravesites.
I wandered through the grounds, into that back graveyard, lost in thought, speaking to Otis...remembering how when E and I were first ttc and then in the early months of my pregnancy we had spent so much time walking through a local cemetery here. It is an absolutely stunning old cemetery, with tons of local history, and the dogs can run leash-free there as well, so we would spend many mornings wandering through the park. We often looked at the tombstones and discussed baby names. I guess it could sound macabre to some of you, but it was just so peaceful and beautiful.
And then, there in that rustic graveyard in the back of the church, in the middle of nowhere on the backside of Mt. Haleakala, I stumbled upon it. All the other grave sites were quite large. This one was only about two feet long. And barely there, in crude handwriting in the concrete, it said, "BABY" and another name, along with a date I couldn't quite decipher (maybe 1985? 1885?).
I burst into tears. I sat down on the grass and sobbed. I knew immediately how loved that baby was. How wanted that baby was. That a mother and a father dreamt about that baby, and held wishes and hopes and expectations and then that a mother and a father had those hopes shattered...And they laid their baby to rest in the ground and they made that beautiful marker for that beautiful baby...
I cried for the baby, but more, I cried for his (or her) mother. I cried wondering if that mother had anyone to speak with about her pain. I cried wondering if that mother felt held and supported in her grief. I cried thinking about her, all the way on the back side of the island, all by herself in her sadness. I hoped the church provided comfort for her in her pain.
I am not alone. This pain I feel is as old as time.
And as we walked out of the grounds, I found this growing right there next to our car - like a dandelion, but not. Simply beautiful.
This poem was read at Otis's memorial, and I was reminded of it that day.