Walking on the beach this morning I was reminded of the Edgar Albert Guest poem Ed read at Abi's funeral. Searching it up on my phone, I stood at the water's edge and read it. Over and over again. I will lend you, for a little time, A child of mine, he said. For you to love the while she lives, And mourn for when she's dead. It may be six or seven years, Or twenty-two or three. But will you, till I call her back, Take care of her for me? She'll bring her charms to gladden you, And should her stay be brief, You'll have her lovely memories, As solace for your grief. I cannot promise she will stay, Since all from earth return. But there are lessons taught down there, I want this child to learn. I've looked the wide world over, In search for teachers true. And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes, I have selected you. Now will you give her all your love, Nor think the labour vain. Nor hate me when I come To take her home again? I fancied that I heard them say, 'Dear Lord, Thy will be done!' For all the joys thy child shall bring, The risk of grief we'll run. We'll shelter her with tenderness, We'll love her while we may, And for the happiness we've known, Forever grateful stay. But should the angels call for her, Much sooner than we've planned. We'll brave the bitter grief that comes, And try to understand.
As I read it over and over, comforted by the familiar rhythm of the iambic pentameter, trying to understand, I turned to see a rainbow had crept out of the sky unnoticed.
Abi loved rainbows. So does Trevor. She once, at school, famously declared that rainbows should have pink in them. Personally, they've never wowed me. Much to Trevor's frustration. But something about them now seems to reflect her life: somehow it's possible to look upon them as a sign of her presence. Standing there in isolation, braving the bitter grief, trying to understand, I took comfort from the rainbow. There you are, I say. There you are, my little girl, there in that rainbow with pink in it.
Always and forever Abigail Ann. Always and forever.