Monday, February 2, 2015

Hanna’s Story: When Two Hearts Beat as One…

Inside this hellish limbo
the moments slip away
yet time drags on forever…
What god would take this boy,
this child from his mother?
Ambivalent, I pray…
and yet we know the answer—
our lives in disarray…

A cruel joke revealed:
this illness like no other—
white matter disappears.
Forever how we searched…
the answer so elusive;
each test inconclusive.
Now finally we know—
too soon we’ll see you go.

We chose your lot today
for when, at last, you sleep.
Until that moment comes,
will hold you in my arms.
Can barely feel a pulse
and yet I feel your warmth.
How can I say good-bye?
You will not see me weep
though deep inside I cry…

I haven’t slept in days
how can I rest these eyes?
…each moment left, a gift…
All I want is peace,
to ease away your pain—
perhaps a brief reprieve
from moment preordained…

                  then, when my time is through
                  I’ll beat a path to you…
                  and hold you once again.

© Ginny Brannan 2015

The image shared is of my two young cousins, Hanna and her son Cole. When Cole was born, his mother never realized the journey her life would take. Told at birth he was "normal," she would never hear those words again. Throughout his life he underwent multiple surgeries for hearing, eyesight, feeding, seizures. They travelled to Boston, Chicago, the National Institute of Health in Maryland  looking for answers. In early December an answer finally came—Cole was diagnosed with "Vanishing White Matter Syndrome." There is no cure, and very little time left for this precious 6 year old. Hanna is strong, she's had to be, yet no mother should have to bear the loss of their child. 
Written in first person, Hanna's voice.
In loving memory of Cole Michael Rapini, 2008 — 2/06/2015 


  1. yep.
    i need a tissue.

    ugh. heartbreaking. i will pray strength for her...

    1. Thanks Brian. Appreciate your thoughts and prayers ever so much.

  2. This breaks my heart. I know the pain of a child's illness, but not the path this precious mother must take. So beautifully written.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Susie. I come from a close-knit Italian family & Hanna is part of that. It is truly bittersweet, seeing all this little guy has been through, fought through, come back from, only to find something even worse come along. He truly is his mother's 'heart' & has stolen all of ours…

  3. The story is tragic enough, Gin. But the last two verses... Beauty and a broken heart. The emotion is palpable and transcendent. My best wishes to the family.

  4. "I'll beat a path to you...." That line brings me to tears. May God be with this family. Beautiful words, Ginny.

    1. Thank you so much, Jody. They have travelled a long road, this family, filled with trials, and always with love. On February 6th, this little guy transcended this world for the next. He lives now inside our hearts.

  5. Ginny,
    Such a tragic story, told with a wonderful empathy. All my best to you and your family.
    Steve K.

  6. What a poignant, empathetic write. Ginny, what a heart breaking situation. My sympathy and condolences to you and your family. xx

    1. Thank you, Mary. Little Cole was blessed to be part of a very close-knit family, and in turn, we the extended family blessed to have known this child.

  7. My heart just fell out Ginny.... I'm so sorry for Cole and all of you who lost him.....

  8. I rarely cry with poetry. But this… I saw it on your FB page and just stared at the sweet photo. My own sweet boy (youngest) is 7 and he is so very dear and sweet. How brave of her to not show tears to her son - How brave was the little man, did he know? Oh, life can be so very hard. Hugs. And what a poem… yes, I'm crying.

  9. and whoever took that photograph is a genius.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Margaret. The words just were just there and pouring out when I wrote it, yet I still feel awkward with the sharing, with putting such a personal story out there. My young cousin Hanna truly is an amazing young woman, and I am incredibly proud of her. I have watched her tenacity as she has fought and advocated for her child every step of the way, never losing hope. My heart aches for the pain of her loss, and I can imagine her continuing Cole's legacy by helping others who struggle as he did.


Thank you for reading my poetry and sharing your thoughts.