Twelve years ago, on February 1, our son died.

The next day, February 2,  he was born, still.

I know.  It is backwards. There is nothing right about a child dying. Words often fail to capture our emotions. Either we cannot speak or there are no words. As a loving tribute to Zachariah, I share this poem.


Twelve Years Unspoken

Entering my favorite flower shop,
Passing by teddy bears and blankets,
I close my eyes, a prayer unspoken.

“Three yellow roses and baby’s breath, please.”
She says, “We have no baby’s breath.”

 Appropriate, I suppose, since neither did he.

She offers other “little white flowers.”
But it is baby’s breath I long to see.

 “Then just the roses.”

 Reading my credit card, she pauses,
“Oh, I didn’t recognize you.”
“It’s OK,” I say.

The reason I was there
Hung in the air,
Unspoken.

 “How have you been?”
She quietly asks.

 I whisper through tears,
“It’s a hard day.”
Twelve years, unspoken
My voice gives way.

She shares, “I’m sorry.”
Tenderly wrapping each rose,
“Hang in there,” she says softly.
It helps that she knows.

I nod,
Gratitude
Unspoken.

I walk away.
In my empty arms rest
The yellow roses
With no baby’s breath.

My heart, broken,
Holding love, unspoken.



Nancy Berns

February 1, 2013

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