Winter seemed reluctant to release it’s hold in Anna’s heart, the healers tried everything they could yet she showed no sign of life.
“Maybe it will get better when spring comes around” says one of them, encouragingly.
I look outside at the snow storm and despair, “it looks as if spring has given up on us” I answer.
“Well, there is no more we can do for today. We will come back tomorrow”.
I cannot show them how desperate I am, I can’t let them know how much I fear that she will not live that long, so instead I say the only thing I can:
Anna I fear that the child inside you is causing all of this, I fear that the source of our joy this winter is taking all your heat and energy in the comfort of your womb and not leaving enough for you. The spells of the healers are all around you yet I fear it will not be enough. Nothing can protect from yourself, or from what is, at the moment, a part of you, deep inside. In that fortress it keeps safe but I can’t keep YOU safe. I will stay by your side all night…
…. I wake up with a jolt, when did I fall asleep? Everything seems so calm, the storm has passed and the sun is shining. I look at you pale as moonlight and cold as the stars, you are not waking up. I see that you will never wake up now. My body becomes ice and I can’t move. I cannot even cry. What monster am I that I can’t even cry in front of the statue you have become? Why can I not cry for you?
And then I hear a small sound, which then becomes a wail and I realise that something magical had happened this night. Anna did you give your life for your child knowingly? Or could nature not bear to see the both of you die?
Tears roll down my cheeks but still I cannot move. A small knock echoes for a long time around my head before the door carefully opens and the early healer tiptoes in. What a sorry sight it must have been for her and yet she quietly came in, sat me down and put my child in my arms before disappearing out again.
A lifetime later, though from the look of the sun it must have been less than an hour, she came back with an older woman who fed the hungry little thing that had been in my arms and I couldn’t help but wonder at the beauty of life. I have witnessed a heart wrenching end, but with it came a new beginning. It was like a Phoenix, I thought, new life born from ashes. I named my daughter Anna, like you, because in a way, you were reborn in her, and I know she is not you and I will never expect her to be you but there is a part of you in her. I will cherish my child because you gave her your life, and I will gladly give her mine.