The Distance of Eternity | For Our Daughter on Mother’s Day

Joaquín Sorolla, Ex Voto, 1892, Spain

Joaquín Sorolla, Ex Voto | 1892, Spain


You cannot sing me a song, or pick me a flower — my Dear One, my precious soul…

…So I will write you a love letter.

You are far away and yet so near; absent, yet with us. Your precious name rings loudly in the morning rays. In the blossom of infancy you remain a joy, yet tragically unbeheld. I, your mother, reach to you as through a veil. The distance of eternity unites us. Love speaks a language unintelligible and piercingly true. Fair is the light that envelops you near.

Because of you, I live a hidden maternal love — long have I pondered this strange maternity. Unheard, you have spoken volumes to me. Unseen, albeit in loss, you have appeared as real as any swaddled babe. Unknown to the world you are deeply known to me. Others have come to know you also, and they yet love you.

And you are known to God.

You have captivated ever fiber of my being and every nerve of my heart. Constantly you are thought of and remembered.

My body lives, breathes, in remembrance of you.

My heart loves in remembrance of you.

My mind thinks in remembrance of you.

My soul hopes in remembrance of you.

Nothing of me exists apart from you.

So truly stunning is your hidden life, I have learned to believe in eternity through you.

You have taught me to love my hidden God. Your loss has given Him empire on my soul. You were His first; His always.

If faith is a figment of irrational delusion — if, as the world reminds us, we should only live for now, your hidden life testifies that no irrational delusion can tear asunder the bonds of love — and this love transcends into a future hope of union and beatitude; into the near distance of life beyond the hallowed grave.


I remember the day of your birth into eternity. You have made it such that it will not ever be forgotten.

The rain may fall and I remember it. Its pounding on copper yet echoes melancholic symphonies on the heart. The phone rings and you come to mind. The streets are filled with reminders of you — the laughter of infants, the wonder of children, the joy of parents. The skyscape and all the beauties of the world I am given to behold only always call out your name. All things that are part of normal life recall the day God asked for you — the day I first beheld His face in yours.

There is no grave for earthly bones, no place of respite or honor for you. The memory of your soul is is innocently veiled. Before your birth He knew and loved you. Your name remains inscribed in the tender Heart of God.

And this is enough for me.

I have traveled the world’s byways remembering you. Wherever I land, you are there. I think of myself as one of those women of Jerusalem — traversing the city, meeting the bloodied Christ who leaves them grieving for their children. I passed you by. And everywhere since I have wept.

Like the altar lamp, you are ever there; burning love burns for love of you in the darkest nights. Your life is as a living sacrifice on the altar of the heart. Your death, like every human death, reignites the prior hope that death is not the end of life. You came into this world so briefly to teach the me the value of leaving — abandoning a temporal now for that glorious forevermore.

However grief stricken my heart, the balm of your love soothes the piercing agonies of loss. You are the sweet bitterness of severed love. You, Dear One, pull me toward you, because where you are, hope yet veiled, springs eternal.

Each day that passes one thinks the pangs of death diminish. Not so with you. Love is stronger than this starkest death. And in this death, you love, and beg love back.

Where I to ask why, I would be waiting a lifetime for the answer. Where I wonder at all you could not do for me, I’d see only what God has done for you.

No mother’s heart is content with absence, but you have taught me the presence of love eternal, and this sustains the lonely days. The eternal value of your soul reflects the nature of my own. I would be lost apart from you.

I fall in prayer, and you are beside me. I weep, and you are there. I fail in hope and you remind that hope yet lives. You kneel before me gazing heavenward. You teach me that God lifts up what is bowed down. I look for you among the gardens of this world, and find Easter stones upturned.

My life has changed. I live in maternal wonder of you. All else is like a field of dust. Lifeless, hopeless, scarred is the dry desert of the heart. You have brought me God, because you met Him first. The dusty wasteland turns to purest gold. Divine love is the purifying heat that fuses us. I know not how to love you — if not in God’s own love. For my strengths fade. The tears yet flow. Love only cries your name upon my soul.

Dear One, were your life like my life, we might be parted more often than the heart could bear. But because you behold eternity, I have learned that human parting is but the road to union, and that God does not divide. In love He binds all things.

Each day, each waking hour, I must look to paradise to find you. In my sleep I must rest in you. I must lift my soul in prayer to hear you. I must gaze at the heavens to behold the loveliness of your face. For here you are not found. And there, we pray you live in joy.

The snares of death encompassed me;
the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the LORD:
“O LORD, I beseech thee, save my life!”
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
our God is merciful.
The LORD preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
For thou hast delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling;
I walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.
I kept my faith, even when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted’;
I said in my consternation, ‘Men are all a vain hope.’

I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.
O LORD, I am thy servant;
I am thy servant, the son of thy handmaid.
Thou hast loosed my bonds.
I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the LORD.
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the LORD,
In your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 116. 3-19

My darling, in our parting you have made my heart into a mother’s heart. A rose gold love courses the veinways of my soul. In my agony you sing from the choirs above of the glory of God who could create in my own flesh the perfection of you.

You are like the vine in the apex beauty of the midday sun — grafted you are onto the Heart of God. Alive.

True love, you have taught me, outlasts the crashing waves on the Sheols of pain. I would not have it any other way now that you are gone to Him. Nothing will ever be the same again. The near distance of eternity unites us. If God wanted you before me, then I am but awaiting our reunion. My every living breath will be awaiting your embrace.

In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. …In the land of the living. In the eternal freedom of the Heart of God.

And that day, my Dear One, will be my mother’s day.

Maria Caterina Agnese Giovanna Grizzetti
+12 June 2012


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