Eleven years ago today, my daughter was stillborn. That day a nurse suggested that I write something for my daughter and have it buried with her, in order to mitigate a sense I had that I wouldn’t be able to do for Caitlyn, or say to Caitlyn, all that I wanted to.
That was on April 18, 2006 — the Tuesday after Easter. The next day, April 19th, I wrote these words. I had them buried with her on April 24, 2006 — the day after Divine Mercy Sunday.
To a Daughter Going Home
for Caitlyn Elisabeth Alt
When first I heard, my mouth fell,
Awed that I had made a child
Who’d grow into a thing of joy on joy.
I remember that I cried.
As month passed month, I clung unto the souvenirs
Of things that told me that you were:
The heart I heard record your life,
The many times I felt you kick.
Your mom gave all she had for you,
To bring you out and hear you breathe.
Your one room here was in her womb:
A room alone, designed by God,
Who held you there when you lost life,
So He could resurrect you at your birth
And bring you unto your new home
To wait there for your mom and dad.
A little while we held you here within our arms
To assure you that our love is great.
And though we know you skipped the hurt of Earth,
How beautiful your face that could not see.
My baby girl, I’ll never see you learn to walk
Or miss and worry when you go to school.
I’ll never hear you laugh or cry
Or comfort and uphold you when you hurt.
I’ll never walk you down the aisle
To give you to the man you love.
I’ll only lift you up on high
And give you to your King.
Dear little Caitlyn, little tiny thing, so good,
I cannot imagine all the joy that’s yours,
While we here hurt and miss and cry.
And every day I have I’ll look for you.
So take with you some words of love
For your new room, prepared for you by Christ,
Who loved you first and best
And gave you shortly unto us.
How beautiful that time! more beautiful your home!
We’ll see you there when Christ does call,
And never leave, and know your face,
And give you all the love we’ve held for you.
Do not let your heart be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, that where I am, there you may be too. (John 14:1-3).
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them. For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (Mark 10:14)
Scott Eric Alt is a freelance writer and former teacher of writing and literature. He’s a managing editor of Catholic Stand. He writes a weblog for Patheos, To Give a Defense. This article first appeared on his weblog.