a mother used to live there

i left my children today, playing happily with their neighbors and friends. their father, competent and casual, was supervising and socializing, and all were relaxed, thoroughly enjoying the sun and the company. i left them, briefly, to travel across town to another home, a home where i’d never been.

i brought with me food that i’d carefully prepared, considering allergies and dietary preferences of a man and a child that i don’t know.  admittedly, i also felt casual, just “running errands so the boys can be boys” as my three year old summarized.

it’s true, it had become a to-do task, having signed up a couple of months ago and some of that raw sympathy having since eroded by our own day to day.

when i pulled up to her home, the sentiment, dormant, hit me. i saw the address, permanent, the cooler beside the front door, temporary, the art projects in the window, frozen in time. getting out of my vehicle, i heard the baby crying from the open windows- raw sounds, as only the really young make.

was she hungry, maybe? my body swelled in concern, betraying my semblance of composure and i had to shake from my head the passing notion of offering help to the stranger i knew would soon respond to my clumsy knock.

he opened the door, bottle in hand, before i regained my ground.  “hello, i’m heather, it’s a pleasure to meet you” i unfortunately said. “sorry” i blustered out, my eyes catching the eyes of the five year old at the top of the stairs, taking me in, taking it all in.

driving away, i couldn’t help but weep thinking of them, those two girls, wondering in which ways they yearn for her, their mother who is no longer able to nurture and provide for them. their mother, who is no longer alive.

i wept for him, broadsided, now alone to raise their daughters, one whose grief must be so complex and one, so new, who might still root, even, looking for her.

i wept for her, no longer being able to join them in their living.

i left my children today, for a short while, and then i came back. i joined my babies in the sun and i wiped the perspiration from their brows. i tucked them in before they napped, held them close when they woke, and aided them, with gentleness, to transition back to our day. i sang to them with the windows open as we drove to celebrate the birthdays of two of our little friends. i visited with the other mothers and celebrated life, in my head counting all the more years to come. i bathed them and read to them and rubbed backs and heads and necks goodnight.

i came home to my children today. our home, where we all live, alive.


3 Comments to “a mother used to live there”

  1. I love you my friend

  2. Tears. Big sigh. Sadly it’s these things that make us pause, count our blessings and remind ourselves to enjoy the tasks that become mundane day after day. Crying for this mama and her girls.

  3. My heart weeps too.

    If you arrived at my house, you would look into the eyes of a woman that has lost a child. You might recognize me but I don’t quite recognize myself. I have no doubt that your one act had a huge impact on their life. If you don’t think so, I’ll tell you my story about “the quarter”…

    Thanks for sharing.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo

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