It’s the unexpected that tears your heart apart.
You try to bury that piece of yourself that is both sentimental and emotional, hide it under the refuse of menial tasks and daily tedium. It’s the unexpected things that lay you bare and exposed as the barely-functioning shell of a woman you’re trying so desperately to hide.
The little boy with the mop of black hair and bright blue eyes, barely more than a year old, that looks up at you while you wait in the Preschool pickup line. The mom that chatters incessantly to you about the boy. Waiting for your agreement that his baby words and diapered waddle are the stuff ambrosia is made of.
The ghost of a babe that never learned to sit, let alone stand and toddle.
The whisper of a toothy grin that never uttered the word mama.
The tears poured down my face before I could reign in the deluge. I turned away from the chatty mom and her cherub boy. I’m sure she thinks me anti-social, as I couldn’t find the grace of words to explain.
And as if the little boy wasn’t enough to test my mental fortitude, the mail held the grand-daddy of all unexpected surprises.
David’s death certificate.
Innocuous in an envelope from the funeral home, my Hub thought it was a bill. When he realized what it was, he tossed it at me, like a game of hot potato that no one can win. The folded paper taken from the envelope but not uncreased for viewing.
I laid it back inside the envelope, unable to read the words.
Several hours past, I waited until my heart was still and I reached inside the envelope, gingerly holding the folded page. While I heard the boys’ muffled voices coming from the living room, I felt like I was in a vacuum, this piece of paper sucking all the oxygen from my lungs.
The details become unimportant as my eyes sweep over the page, although I am grateful that I recognized the doctor’s signature as one with whom we had a rapport.
I break when I read the words refractory septic shock. Those words fill the room and squeeze out the light. They are palpable against my skin as I try to return the page to it’s white paper crypt.
It’s the unexpected that destroys you, completely.