My son stopped his mad house dash around the table and looked me right in the eyes. His little about to be 5 year old face got as serious as it could get. He looked at me like that for a long time. My smile slipped slowly from my face as thoughts of what could be wrong with him raced through my addled brain.
“No mommy, don’t stop smiling. I miss it when you don’t smile. You stopped smiling when Poppa Keith died.”
I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t hold it back anymore. The gates opened and the rain fell. I began to weep. The weeping wasn’t enough, I began to sob. The sobbing wasn’t enough and I began to wail. The torrent of tears streamed down my face and neck to soak the neck of my shirt. I couldn’t stop. There were no words, just a deep wracking pain that poured from my mouth in a single sound. It was the sound my ancestors, the sound of every woman who had lost before me, it was the wail of the Banshee. There is nothing else it could have been.
My son wrapped his little arms around me and held me while I wailed. He held on to me and wept his own tears and he wailed his own grief. In the last almost year this is the one thing we had never done, we had never shared our grief.
As adults we sometimes forget that children can mourn the loss of someone just as deeply as we can. We forget that they need the time to feel grief just as we do. This is what I had taken from my son. In all that time, when my mind refused to grieve openly, my son saw only the outer shell of me. He saw only the part of me that seemed to not feel the loss. Being a child and being so desperate to not lose anymore, he reflected me.
I burned dinner. We cried for so long and so deeply that it took the smoke detector’s shrill whistle to remind us that there was a world beyond our grief. Slowly we came back to ourselves. I took the meatloaf out of the oven and set it in the sink. I just stood there and stared at it. For the life of me I couldn’t tell what was wrong. Besides the obvious of the burned dinner and the newly discovered grief, there was still something wrong, something I couldn’t put my finger on.
“Mommy, can we just go eat pizza? My eyes are all dried up and I don’t want to cry anymore today.”
From behind me my son had spoken the answer to my problem. I didn’t want to cry today anymore. Some part of me, newly awakened, raged that I was putting off my grief again. But one look into my son’s eyes and I knew we had to get out of the house.
Not just out of the house, but out of the city, out of the state. We had to get away from everything that had hurt us so much for so long. We needed to start over where our loss wasn’t handed to us everyday. We were beyond repairing what was broken, it was time to build new.all works posted here are copyrighted