Cheryl, I had the honor of photographing your sweet Mariana today.
At first, I felt guilty and melancholic for I would get to do what was taken from you. For I would hold her in my arms and gaze upon her face.
Pictures were wrapped up and we were getting ready to leave. Mariana, who had stayed awake throughout, was sleeping peacefully. My man was obsessed with taking a few photos of the pups before we left. The pups seemed eager to oblige. So, mum let them out for their photo opportunity. I wanted to ask but was holding back. I think her dad sensed what I was feeling and said “you can hold her.” He then lifted her gently and placed her tiny being in my arms.
Instead of the tears, I had been dreading, a calm peace washed over me. For the first time since that phone call on the 9th, my heavy heart felt lifted. My eyes took in every detail of her face and tiny fingers. Her perfect, little form nestled in the crook of my arm. I whispered to her of the love and joy you had expressed. The excitement you had when you picked out little items for her. How Carl beamed his sheepish grin, in his quiet way when we’d sit on the couch and talk about the things you wanted to do.
I looked at her and thought, would she look at the world as a dreamer, quietly observing and marking it with creativity. Or would she embrace life by seeking out new thrills and adventures? Seeing the “way frickin cool” in the small, wondrous details.
The calming peace began to fade and I felt something I had thought was lost.
A spark, a flicker of hope. Small, but strong. In this tragic time, with not just our tragedy, but a world emerging from a global pandemic, possibly on the verge of a World War. I felt hope; Hope for the Future – Life! All through the tiny being of a child. Mankind has the power to endure. The words of her new grandmother “Here is what hope looks like”, echoed in my ears.
Mariana, a name in Spanish and Latin that means “of the sea”. In Hebrew, the name means “rebellious woman”. All life started in the sea and endured through rebellious women. Know, sweet girl, that you are loved in this world and beyond. You have brought hope and healing to those who hurt. Thank you for the honor of holding you.