Posted by: alegra22 | July 28, 2010

a prayer for Cezar

'Angel of Grief' - Stefano Pizetti


Dan looks at me, shakes his head, hands me the phone without warning. My skin tightens. My words shrink into a hard thing pressing into my throat, refusing to be touched by any of this. 

My sister-in-law’s voice is something I fall into. I want to close my eyes and sink into her grief, like a small, polished stone. A wish someone has made. 

She tells me that Cezar is in his father’s arms. He is gone.
Gone from here, from us, passed on, with God, he’s dead.
My mind is filled with the image of my brother-in-law. Adam’s giant body cradling the small, perfect form of his son. It is a punch in the throat. A punch in my heart. Over and over again. Something tightens beneath my skull and I can’t stop thinking of tiny toes, tiny fingers, tiny heart, stillness, the weight in Adam’s arms. I picture him rocking. I picture him sitting like he is made of stone.
There is little more that either Alziere and I can say. She has so many people to call. She has to say it over and over again.
We are both crying. Her tears are the ocean, full of deep troughs and cresting waves. Mine are like small tidepools created by footprints left in the sand. They fill up and disappear. 
 I hang up the phone feeling like a cardboard cut-out of myself. I imagine my family moving beneath the bright flourescent lights of the hospital this dark thing held in their hearts. I imagine them praying over Cezar with a ferociousness, calling upon God as his little body surrendered.
That thing beneath my skull continues to tighten.
I watch my husband write the words over and over again, to family to friends. He stops every few seconds. It is hard for me to look at him.
From the couch Sol asks me, “Why does God make us so that we die? What if we don’t want to die? Why do we only live so long?”
Dan’s fingers stop their typing. The hard questions begin.
“Because,” I say, “living is a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of work. God gives us just enough time in our bodies so that our souls don’t get too tired. If we were here forever, we’d get really, really tired.”
As I type these words, my children are spread out around me. My legs rest on my daughter’s warm body. All of them sleep with their arms flung out to the side or over their heads. Their breathing rises and falls. The room is dark and my whole body hurts. I snapped at Dan earlier when he was watching a news clip about the police taking into custody the man they believe is responsible for this. “Why don’t you turn it up?” I said. It felt like there was so much noise in the room, but there wasn’t. It was just that no matter what the reporters had to say, it was all muffled to me. No matter what anyone says to me, it isn’t clear enough.
“I’m sorry,” I said to him. “When I am scared, I get angry.”
And I am terrified tonight of having to look at Cezar’s small body. I am terrified of the grief washing over this family like a dark, rogue wave. I am aware that sweeping through us is God, in the rage, in the grief, in the healing that will come. But as I feel it descending upon us, all I have are my words to keep me  from drowning. Small prayers like breathing. In and out. In and out.
Cezar, I pray this for you. That in the last moments of your life you felt the fierce love of your father, your aunties and uncles, your Nanny. You felt the thousands of prayers surrounding you from all over the world. That the violence you suffered in this life was washed away by a flood of light made up of so many voices, so many thoughts, so many prayers.
I pray that as I type this, you are surrounded by a love more pure than anything we could have shown you in this life. A place of being more beautiful than we are capable of imagining. 
I pray that you are at peace.


  1. Alegra, simply know Cezar and your family are being held in my prayers.

  2. Once again, I’m staring at a comment form with a thousand thoughts I want to express to you and words are failing me. Your family is in my prayers. I wish there was more I could do.

  3. I’m speechless…nothing I can say or type could express my heartfelt sympathy for you and your family.

    I did like your explanation to Sol.

  4. All I can say is…yes.

    Love you

  5. I really with I hadn’t read this at the office. I can’t stop crying.

  6. I’m so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    My chest hurts.

  7. Sweetheart, I fell asleep thinking about Cezar and woke up to your email. Know that your family has love and support all around the world. We hope that can bring some measure of comfort along the road ahead.

  8. Mere words cannot express the pain we feel at this time. Writing this for us must have taken a tremendous amount of courage and love. I thank you every day of my life for being who you are. I love you. mama

  9. My heart hurts. I’m so sorry.

  10. you are brave.
    you are strong.
    you can handle things you never thought you could.
    you are a good mother and a good wife and a good sister in law and a good daughter in law and a good friend.
    babies should not die.
    this is not fair.
    it’s not right.
    and it’s not good.

    God is good.
    this is bad.
    prayers for discernment, acceptance of how you really feel. prayers for a network of strong arms to hold you all up.
    prayers and words are all we have to offer you.
    may your heart be met where it is.
    whatever the books say about stages of grief, whatever consolation our faith offers,
    this is just not right.
    no words can make losing a child ok.
    i am truly sorry for your loss.
    breathe in
    breathe out.
    one thing at a time…
    then on to the next thing.
    get through today.
    tomorrow is another day.

    God hears you.
    it’s ok to be mad at him.
    he can take it.


  11. WOW… Powerful and beautiful words.

    Not alot to say except be strong Adam… We are all thinking of you at this time. And to his brothers… Be strong for him, and the rest of the Whanau… Cause you will be his rock over the upcoming days.

    Thinking of all the Clarke Whanau. xxx

  12. I am so sorry.

  13. I just reread this. This morning it was in haste and I didn’t have time to let it all register. But it showed up again in my email and I opened it and read it anew. Thank you for this. I’ll be reading this multiple times daily for quite awhile.

  14. Alegra, I have no words.

    “I’m sorry” seems so damned inefficient. Please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  15. deepest sympathy to you and your family. I also lack additional words that might be of comfort… or additional words.

  16. i found this last night when reading to my 2 year old daughter. i thought of you… of cezar… of your family.

    “I hear no voice, I feel no touch,
    I see no glory bright;
    But yet I know that God is near,
    In darkness as in light.
    He watches ever by my side,
    And hears my whispered prayers;
    The Father for His little child
    Both night and day doth care.”

    This carries a whole new meaning for Cezar today.
    I pray as you all go through the motions that you will be strong and endure.

  17. […] a service for the death of a baby. A baby who was abused (not her own). A family member. She has blogged about it so eloquently already, as has our friend Nina.  And I am not even capable of coming up with the beauty these two […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: