Primal Cry

I like watching detectives because of the mystery and the psychology. What happened exactly and why do people act the way they do? In a film I saw the other day I saw an actor performing a mother who finally heard that her missing daughter was dead. Her screaming touched me deeply.

I hear a cry
Recognizable, penetrating
It’s just an actor
And yet
It chills to the bone
sounds as it is
this primal scream
Animal, childish
A part of her died
She lives on amputated
not yet knowing how

I hear a cry
Recognizable, penetrating
It’s just an actor
But she empathized
Expressed the cry of those who experienced it
Primal sound as a terrified, immensely sad little child
without learned inhibitions
This is how pure despair and inconsolability sound

I hear a primal cry
Recognizable, penetrating and sharp
It’s what Simeon said to Mary in the Christmas story:
‘A sword will pierce your heart’:
The moment Mary saw her son suffer and die
The moment I saw that my daughter was no longer moving
The moment he learned that his child had not won the battle

I hear a cry
Recognizable, penetrating
and remember the days such sound came from me
When it dawned death is irreversible
my child won’t come back
Sometimes one more cry escapes

But this cry
recognizable, piercing
doesn’t have the last word
The Jesus Mary saw dying promises He will turn mourning into dancing
One day
Sometimes I sense that when I think of her perfect state
at its closest to the source of its existence
I like it when I look at what she did
in me

Yet that raw uninhibited cry,
recognizable, penetrating,
is necessary
Don’t dare to stop it when she makes herself heard
for not only do you suppress the pain
the sadness
the despair
but also the call for justice and harmony
and the expression of love
which no longer has an address

This cry
recognizable, piercing
is heard through the ages
all creation express it’s sound (in Paul’s words)
I take part in that cry
and find myself in good company
(in reference to Romans 8: 18-30)

huilende vrouw
This painting is made by Christa Rosier. I first saw it on a post card someone send me after Amanda’s passing. I had it within reach for months and it helped me to acknowledge the despair and sorrow and to realize that God’s light was still on me.

First published in Dutch on January 9, 2020

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