I have had worse partings, but none that so Gnaws at my mind still

There is a grief that runs all the way through motherhood.

The grief in going up to the loft to exchange the 0-3 month old baby-grows for the 3-6 month ones, the grief of withdrawing the breast and saying: “No more,” the grief of a child’s first day in school.

It is widely accepted that many parents need to grieve when their children leave home. “Why wait til then?” I say.

I have wept over a boy becoming so bonny and chunky he has to be moved from his Moses basket into a cot, over him becoming so independent he no longer finds it necessary to curl my thumb within his hand.

I am grateful to a friend who gave me this poem when I was puzzling over why something as good and natural as a child growing up should also be so poignant.

It  is the kind of question that only a poet can answer.  What better answer than this could there be? Walking Away by C D-Lewis.

Comments: 2

  1. Huw says:

    That is beautiful, Jo – both your post and the poem, which I had never heard of before.

    My most poignant memory of my son is not of a parting or a putting-away, but there is something similar in it. He was four years old, and on a campsite I overheard him asking a little girl he had befriended whether she would like to come and see his security blanket. I found it quite heart-breaking, without quite being able to explain why.

  2. Ouch Huw! There is indeed something similar in it. I can feel it from here. It’s the not being able to explain why that’s the thing. The sadness we feel when things aren’t right is one thing. The sadness we feel when things ARE is another.

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