She stood in the garden outside of Kimbilio Hospice. Her 30 year old son, hardly conscious, was reclining in a wheelchair. Brain cancer was doing its best to take his life. They were surrounded by the sounds of singing as other patients and staff of the hospice gathered for “church.” They were singing praise songs and telling accounts of how God was with them – giving them hope. In a tender moment, this mama leaned down and rested her face on that of her son’s. While he was a grown man, he was also still her child. This look of love felt so familiar to me – she wanted to take his place.
“Mother, formed from the depths beneath your heart, you know [him] from the inside out. No deeds or seas or others could ever erase that.”
Oh Mama, I want to ease your anguish, the unrelenting grief you feel as you anticipate the loss of your son.
I recently sat in an interview to hire our new staff for the Kimbilio Care Center in Eldoret. In one of the interviews, I asked a question that went something like this: “If a child has just passed away and the grieving mother asks you: where is my child now? How might you answer?” I understood it was a complicated question for some, but it felt very important to me. I was asking on behalf of all the grieving parents who will seek refuge within our care. But even as I asked the question, I knew, in part, I was also asking it personally as I still carry the tenderness and awareness of how close we came to Ryan’s death. The specific “answer” was not what I searching for but rather the compassion with which the answer might be given. For all the mamas to come, I want Living Room to be loving and gentle with your broken hearts.