Life and Sorrow

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SONIA
Francisco Icasiano

She folded her hands upon her bosom, this four-year old child of mine and as her breathing became more labored, prayed as I led her: "Jesus. You love little children: help me!" that was at midnight on November 28, 1932. A few minutes later, she had joined the angels and left us in anguish that numbered all feelings. But t have since risen from the depths to which Sonia's death crushed me, and phoenix- like have left my dead ashes, to sing the charms that the death of one so dearly loved can bring to the soul. I have known the darkness of occasional brooding, but I would dwell most upon a struggle with sorrow that has sweetened my nature, which otherwise, would have been stultified by the pain. Pain, I have realized, is beautiful only when one can rise from its depressing power. I have known the people who have become bitter and cynical under the lash of sorrow, and I have known some who have never recovered from anguish. My experience is important only so far as it may help others towards growth: it is worthless to me if it implies vanity. Sonia is, to me, as fairy tale told or a lyric half lost in fancy, a delicate melody unsung. Had she grown into full womanhood, she might have become an intellectual, for she was deliberate and clear- cut in her language, precise in her reasoning, and keen in sensing nuances which matured minds about her could not appreciate; then, I should have been forever lost, the glamour of its poetry never felt even in vague suggestions, and the delicate melodies never perceived. As a friend suggested to me when grief was most oppressive: "you shall always remember her as a child. "How beautiful I felt it was! What a beautiful things a man perceives in such sorrow! What keen and living poetry! For nothing but poetry could give such feeling. In such a moment reason would have destroyed me with consummate triumph; for if I had tried to explain why God had snatched away from me the things I loved best in life, I would have allowed reason to rob me of reason. But poetry in all her magnificence came sailing behind the somber shape of sorrow to show me the way to a more beautiful, more full and more nearly perfect life. Sonia shall always live in my memory as a child who wonders why the star shine in the sky and the rain drops from heaven and the grass on the wayside: as a child who find all things pure and true in her innocent eyes. I shall look in those eyes and see so much confidence and faith when I feel that I am losing my own faith and confidence I shall draw from my memory of her a child's enthusiasm for life, when my heart is heavy and my eyes dim with age. This is my ideal, to see the whole life with a mind mellowed by age, though a heart forever young - wise and happy! Days before she died, I had a premonition to her death; but I dismiss it, consoling myself with the thought that if such a thing should come to pass -heaven forbid - I should perhaps be rewarded for becoming a true, sincere and humble artist through the suffering that would come from such a shocking experience. For the first time in my life, the idea of becoming an artist suddenly lost in its chance. I would rather remain obscure than lost its greatest masterpiece, wrought in my own blood, and polish by the greatest love that I was capable of giving. Like the reeds in the river, I would rather keep my leaves and flowers that be cut up by the great Pan into the flute. The melody of the wind was enough for me as I bent rhythmically with its blowing. I would refuse the greater melody of art that exacts so much. But when her hour came the blade of death cleave my heart, I felt as if I, too, had died and a new soul had emerged, more beautiful, because cleanse of all bitterness. How true it is as poor Oscar Wilde wrote that, the "Pleasure is for the beautiful body, but pain for the beautiful soul." But what costly knowledge this first. Experience has indeed taken...
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