Dear Annie: Years ago, Ann Landers printed a poem for parents who have lost children. She said it was one of the items that readers requested most. I clipped it and made copies, and over the years, I have given it to several people who have lost children.
— Charles S.
Dear Charles S.: The touching poem to which you’re referring is called “A Child of Mine.” It was written by Edgar A. Guest. I’m happy to print it now, and I hope it will offer some comfort to anyone who needs it.
I’ll lend you for a little time, a child of mine, He said.
For you to love while he lives, and mourn when he is dead.
It may be six or seven years, or twenty-two or three.
But will you, ’til I call him back, take care of him for me?
He’ll bring his charms to gladden you, and shall his stay be brief,
You’ll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true
And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes, I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love, nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call, to take him back again?
I fancied that I heard them say, Dear Lord, Thy will be done.
For all the joy Thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter him with tenderness, we’ll love him while we may;
And for the happiness we’ve known, will ever grateful stay.
But shall the angels call for him much sooner than we planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.