Friday, December 18, 2009

Hans Christian Andersen "Historien om en Moder"

"Did you see Death go by with my little child?"

"Yes," said the blackthorn bush. "But I shall not tell you which way he went unless you warm me against your heart. I am freezing to death. I am stiff with ice."

She pressed the blackthorn bush against her heart to warm it, and the thorns stabbed so deep into her flesh that great drops of red blood flowed. So warm was the mother's heart that the blackthorn bush blossomed and put forth green leaves on that dark winter's night.

And it told her the way to go.

The Story of a Mother, Hans Christian Andersen

I read The Story of a Mother in 1995, only a year following Chey's death. The horrors of the story were matched only by the very reality I faced every morning when I awoke, in the evening before I closed my eyes, and in the space between them. I related so much to his careful construction of the story because I'd often personified Death. He, this abstract being- the enemy- came into my life, through my front door, into my home, and into my very own body and took her against my will. By so doing, I could begin to process my own unthinkable experience. Yet, the story evoked only indescribably painful emotions at that time, and I could not yet begin to see (note the relationship to the mother's loss of her eyes in the story) the entire picture of His "taking of her".

Angie, Dallas' mother, shared with me an artistic rendition of the story. The symbols had entirely new meaning to me, more than 5600 days, nearly 135,000 hours, and countless tears later... and this morning, I wept. And wept.


The soul still sings in the darkness telling of the beauty she found there; and daring us not to think that because she passed through such tortures of anguish, doubt, dread, and horror, as has been said, she ran any the more danger of being lost in the night. Nay, in the darkness did she, rather, find herself.

--St. John, Dark Night of the Soul

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