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.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Unexpected

  1. idiosyncraticeye

    Aw, my thoughts are with you. Your words are so true. 🙂

  2. There are no words…
    Nothing I can say to make it any better…
    I have no idea what you must be going through…
    Your written is always so beautiful and must be a good way for you to process your feelings. Thank you for sharing them.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  3. Joy

    Many, many hugs for you… My thoughts are with you.

  4. Jolie

    I’m sending hugs that last for as long as you need them to, time to heal the wounds reopened by an envelope. unexpected for sure. Catch your breath, dry your eyes. Your ability to see beyond what you feel is nothing short of amazing.

  5. same, no words, just love and sorrow, (Amy)

  6. Sairah

    Oh, Amy! I’m so sorry…{hugs}


  7. Nothing I type is coming out right.
    You are in my thoughts b

  8. Melissa

    There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. (Quote by – Washington Irving)

  9. sharon

    The unexpected, and even the expected, will do this for a long time to come. You go right ahead and cry honey. Every tear you shed relieves a little of the pressure in your heart. You don’t get over the loss of a child, you just learn – eventually – to accommodate that aching void.


  10. I wish you could be protected from those unexpected moments, as if the dreaded aren’t already hard enough to bear.

  11. Kim Woehl

    I cannot understand the magnitude of your loss. The grieving process is long and hard. Surround yourself by those who love you, those who are willing to understand. Know that we are out here, holding your hand in comfort in our effort to understand, if only a bit of your pain. My prayers are with you as you continue on this journey. Thank you for sharing your words with us, as through you, so many others will be comforted.

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