Did You Gaze?

Did you gaze?
Did you ever have a moment to stare across the firth?
Did you feel your body relax in those sunny glimpses of the Cairngorms?
Did you struggle for words to describe the multiple shades of green?

Did you watch the fog and rain as it moved across the water?
Did you get as excited as I do as the rainbows form?
Did you feel God’s expansive love with each one?
Did they give you hope?
When your babies died at birth and at two,
did you think back to the rainbows of your youth and find respite?

Did the gulls gently wake you at dawn as they do me?
Did you watch them as they caught the strong winds blowing in from the southwest?
Did you ever wish you could float on the air as they do?
Did you stand at the water’s edge and breathe in the damp sea air?
When the heavy fog touched your face was your spirit baptized?

I ache for you who I never knew.
I yearn to hold your aging body in my arms, to be at your bedside.
I want to hear your stories of growing up along the Clyde.
I am missing part of myself, I am missing you!
I grieve! I cry out in sobs and despair of what is lost!

Mama you took him from me!
I know you had to get out, of course, you did!
I loved you deeply and never would want you harmed,
but, Mama, you kept him from me.
You chose to sever a part of yourself,
but you chose for me, too.
And now it’s too late.
I never knew Grandpa.

Mama, your pain must have been too deep!
Even having created a family built on unconditional love,
you did not feel unconditionally loved yourself.
Mom, you fulfilled the promise of the rainbows over the Clyde!
But Grandpa Scottie never got to see it. Your wound was never healed.
It must have been horrific pain because
you couldn’t give your wound the air to scab over.

You changed so many lives, one child and family at a time.
You gave me, and each of us, a strong foundation…
but when you amputated Grandpa Scottie from your life,
you severed a part of who you were and who I am.
Though I may not know intellectually, I know within my being.
We cannot remove our ancestors and our generational traumas from our stories.
Your death does not remove our intuition with one another.
I feel your arms around me as we sob together.
You are with me in my tears as we survey the water, fog, and rainbow.
I love you still and deeply. I hope that your spirit has found some peace.

And Grandpa Scottie, I carry you and the rainbow within me. Your lost babies, being blamed for your own mother’s death after your birth, and the pain of a spouse lost too soon are embedded in who I am. I ache with you at death, brokenness, and injustice. Even your temptation to mask your pain with a drink is in my essence.

I ache for your stories, laughter around the family table, and comforting you as your body grew frail. But Grandpa, you are here, and you are within me. With each gull song, step fall on the cobblestone, run along the Clyde, and with every breath of damp air, I feel you within me. The rainbow still holds promise and healing.


  1. […] the streets of this sacred place in my ancestral story opens me to the spirit of my ancestors. Gazing out the window of my flat last week, long-held and unknown grief burst out of me. As I watched the gulls in the ever-changing Scottish weather, I began audibly asking the […]

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