The Dancer

“She loved to dance.”

The tears streamed down her cheeks, finding no place to hide. In the midst of all the tragedy, she found something else.  After 45 minutes of CPR and high octane staff in an ambulance and hospital ER swarmed her daughter, she found something else.  

As her little daughter lay there in the bed bloodied from the long resuscitation, eyes half open, and the chest still as a lake in a windless winter, the mother found something else besides the terror of the future without her daughter.  She found a past.

I had asked her simply, tell me about her.  I see you tears, I hear your cries, and I want to know about this little girl you cherish so much.  Tell me about her. At that moment, I felt this little girl needed dignity of being acknowledged as the life giving, smile causing, beautiful girl she is. Not the little girl known for volume of heartbeats, temp, time of CPR, lab numbers or anything else. And so the mother found something else. She found the story of her daughter, the dancer.

And she warned for the short moment, smiled in joy, and reaffirmed, “She loved to dance. She was a dancer.” And the tears returned as the memories of the dancing welled up in her mind and heart. But…that moment is when something happened that was so important.  It was the moment the mother made her future less terrorizing.  For a moment, this beautiful visceral memory from the recent past gave birth to the only way forward. By cherishing. By naming what made her little girl her precious gift of a little girl. Sometimes even in the midst of the darkest grief and most fearful future, we need to find one ray of light that proclaims in the faintest of whispers…your pain can’t claim you, your daughter already has and will.

Oh she danced.  And I think that she dances with God now the way she dances in her mothers heart, deep down in her mothers soul. 

Thank you for telling me about your daughter.  She’s loved indeed, I say.

And amidst the flowing fountain of tears, her shaky voice with confidence says simply, “Thank you for asking about her.” And then a long silence and more tears. 

Dance in heaven little girl, dance in your mothers heart forever. You won’t be forgotten.

(FYI- this happened a week ago but it has been on my heart since)


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