Songs of Nature

Help support explorefaith. Purchase a copy of Rebecca Webb Wilson's Songs of Nature from


Early Losses

Day 12

Written By Eyleen Farmer

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson, Hawkeye Nature Photography


Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me under the shadow of your wings. —Psalm 17:8

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson; copyright 2010When my granddaughter was one, her parents went away for the weekend, and I was left in charge. My daughter had written out pages of elaborate instructions for Caroline’s care, including an hour-by-hour schedule and a list of her favorite foods. I had made my own mental list of fun things to do and was looking forward to giving Caroline my undivided attention for three whole days.

It was fun at first. I read Pat the Bunny at least fifty times, we walked to the playground morning and afternoon, I put extra bubbles in her bath. Then she began to grow restless. She would climb in my lap, but after just a minute or two, wanted down again. Everything I put on the tray of her high chair, including princess cereal, she threw on the floor with fervent determination. She cried at bath time and fretted when I put her to bed.

The next day I noticed her toddling from room to room, unable to settle down or be at ease anywhere. Finally it dawned on me that Caroline—a one-year-old baby—was grieving. She was worriedly searching for mommy and daddy, and when she couldn’t find them, her whole world was turned upside down. No matter that her parents had carefully explained where they were going and when they would be back. No matter that I tried everything I could think of to alleviate her distress or that it broke my heart to see her hurt. There was nothing I could do or say that would change the fact that what she needed at the most fundamental level was not available to her.

Our losses begin to accrue very early. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong; loss is simply a part of the fabric of life. My granddaughter will not remember that weekend when she was one. But the experience will become a part of her internal landscape and will inform how she handles the next loss and the one after that.

We would all do well to treat ourselves as lovingly and with as much tenderness as we can muster. Imagine caring today for your own ancient, unremembered hurts, and be assured that the love inside you will make it possible to bear all things.

Loving God, keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me under the shadow of your wings. Amen.