Posts Tagged With: David


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

Something To Hold On To

As I surveyed the rooms, I knew I had a monumental task in front of me.  Boxes and garbage bags as far as the eye could see. Hoarders would have a field day with me and all this crap.

Holy hell, where do I start?

7 years worth of books, discarded toys, outgrown clothes, things I didn’t need or use, but saved,  just in case I needed them again. An organizational nightmare made worse by all the new crap we lugged up here the day before David’s funeral. 5 months worth of school papers, outgrown clothes and toys.

Not to mention the baby things. David’s things. His clothes, his bassinet, his swing, his boppy. All the outgrown clothes, new clothes, clothes he had yet to grow into. I know this project will be the end of me. But it needs to be done if we ever want to finish renovating up here and actually use the bedrooms for more than junk collection.


I start with the LIFO method, last in first out. Chosen simply because I can’t walk but a foot into any of the doorways. I sort through 2 full boxes of school papers. 5 months worth of work for 2 kids. I whittle it down to a handful of papers and toss the rest.

Next up, clothes. So many boxes and bags full of clothes. I suppose lugging all the crap back downstairs will make it easier in the long-run – wash, sort, put away whatever fits, throw away the junkie stuff, box up the rest.

Sounds easy peasy.

I start with the boxes, avoiding David’s tiny dresser like the plague. One, two, three, six, nine, twelve…where the hell did all these clothes come from?  It’s going to take me days to sort them all.

And it does. Every day I spend time sifting through the bags and boxes sorting each piece into it’s appropriate pile.

Fortunately there’s plenty of things that fit the boys, a good bit to sell or giveaway and a couple of boxes for Zachary and Jonathan to grow into.

The washing machine hasn’t had a break in days and I wonder if it isn’t  just easier to dump everything into the washer first, and sort later. First up, a garbage bag full of clothes Zachary has outgrown.

As I’m dumping old Thomas t-shirts and bitty pairs of skivvies into the washer, the flash of yellow and blue catches my eye. What was that?

It sure looked small.

I reach in and pull it out, immediately knowing whose it is and as I stand there, holding the tiny “Little Brother” onesie in my hand,  all I can do is cry.

I hold it to my face and inhale, hoping to get a tiny whiff of the babe that once inhabited this tiny shred of cloth. My mind plays tricks on me and I’m sure I can smell that newborn baby smell complete with baby formula tainted breath. I see that toothless grin and those baby blues, made that much bluer with the bit of navy blue around the collar.


I dry my eyes and slip the tiny memory into the pocket of my sweater.

I throw the rest of the clothes in and start the washer. I return to my aforementioned task of sorting the multitudes of crap upstairs.

Every now and then, I tentatively slip my hand into my pocket, confirming the existence of my treasure.

If only I could stitch it around my broken heart and through my empty arms. Aching with the want of something to hold on to.

I would. I surely would.

This post was written in response to this week’s Red Writing Hood’s writing prompt: Write a piece about finding a forgotten item of clothing in the back of a drawer or closet. Let us know how the item was found, what it is, and why it’s so meaningful to you or your character.

The piece should be less than 600 words and I am way proud of my 599. Please feel free to critique.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Wordless Wednesday

My sister-in-law created this slide-show and played it during the visitation. I wanted to share it with you, the folks that couldn’t be there.  It’s about 4 1/2 minutes long and there is music. You can watch it here.

I can’t say Thank You enough to the folks sending cards and small tokens, leaving comments, sending me messages, and suggesting songs! They truly mean the world to me.  I will get to thanking you all individually and returning messages, but right now, that’s a monumental task and I’m not quite ready for it. Suffice for me to say Thank you, right here and now and acknowledge that I love you all for your continued love and support. I am truly blessed.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Strength in Words

Many voice their amazement at my ‘strength’ to continue writing, I say it is my lifeline. I feel that if I don’t continue to write, I may drown in an ocean of sorrow. That I will be consumed by the grief that I feel and I will be of no value to those around me.

Because in the end, I have others, namely 3 young lads, that need their mama now, just as much as Capt Snuggles did then.  When we told the boys of David’s passing the only thing Jacob asked me was “Does that mean you get to stay home now?” That question was almost as heart-breaking as the loss of David. Here are 3 boys already grieving because I have not been home for 5 months. For them David was already a ghost. My return, heralded as a return to normalcy.

So where do I begin? It’s awkward, to say the least. While it still looks like my house, it no longer feels like my house. During the luncheon on Thursday, someone asked me where something was – I looked around and realized – I had no clue. So much to re-adjust to. For my Hub and the boys, it was life as usual, albeit without me. Shopping, cleaning, school-work, someone other than me made sure it all got done. I idled in another world.

To be honest, I am being selfish in my writing. In the coming weeks I will need to let go of thoughts and images that are haunting me now. I will need to release myself of the weight of that last day, the weight and emptiness both, that this week has become. To do that, I will write and I will share. If you chose to read, it is because you agree to help shoulder some of the devastation that I feel. If you chose not to, I understand – it will not be a pleasant undertaking. It will be painful, for that I have no doubt.

So I don’t believe it is strength that keeps me writing, I think it is survival.

After Nathaniel passed away, I stopped painting. I was working on my Master’s Degree at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. I was actively working on more than one public mural, along with paintings meant for upcoming gallery shows. In a word, I was good. But, I walked away from the only life I knew at that time. I couldn’t bring myself to even attempt to create another painting that would bring enjoyment to someone else, let alone enjoyment to me.

I just couldn’t do it.

I used to say, I was waiting for an epiphany. Maybe that’s what I’m working through here. The realization that I can’t walk away from something that is an integral part of my life.  I can’t deprive myself of the enjoyment of something simply because life doesn’t seem fair. Or that I need to punish myself because I couldn’t do anything to save either one of my sons.


I think I just had my epiphany.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Dear Capt Snuggles,

To my sweet Capt Snuggles,

David Henry, this is a hard letter to write. I wish that it was a rambling account of how things are this year, historical facts to remember, events to recount for when you grow old. But therein lies the problem. I write this letter because I know in my heart of hearts – you will never grow old. Those words rip out my heart and make me weep. I am at a loss on how to say goodbye.

Can I be honest with you? I was devastated when I learned I was pregnant again. I struggled with the prospect of motherhood overloaded. But I want you to understand, no matter how I felt before you were born – I loved you completely when you arrived.

You were beautiful, such hair! The dark color was deceiving, you were hiding all that red until we took to the sun and then you were breath-taking.  We did a lot in those first 3 months in spite of the weekly doctors appointments and the mandated round the clock feedings. Your brothers were so in love with you – they argued about who got to hold you first.

Jacob won, of course – his is your oldest little brother and he adored you. He even learned to change your diaper, he was quite proficient for being only 7.

Jonathan always wanted to sit with me when you took your bottle, he would try and hold the bottle for you, but you had to have the bottle just so and we ended up making a mess. Regardless, he was always concerned about you and your bottles.

And then there was Zachary, he loved to bring you toys, pile them on you, as a matter of fact. Sometimes I would find the oddest things stacked up in your little bouncy chair besides you. He always had a toy for ‘baby’.

Many, many people are heart-broken that you’re gone, none more so than I. I know, with absolute conviction, that I did the best I could for you. I know that the liver transplant was the only option at the hope for a normal life. I suppose that’s what it came down to, a hope.

But even for all those months in the hospital, there were bright times. I treasure each and every time I got to rock you or hold you, or simply bathe you.

Every time you opened your eyes it elicited murmurs of delight from myself and all your faithful Chaperones. I know your lullabies are playing softly where ever your sweet soul is.

I have to say goodbye to your body today, but not your spirit, never your spirit.  My arms ache to hold you once more and my chest is full of the shards of my broken heart. These past 5 months have been a marathon, a marathon of love and devotion that so many people are amazed at. But I acted in the only way I knew how. To be with you, to nurture you, to be your mama in the same way I am mama to your siblings before you.

You are held in the hearts of so very many people. I shared you with so many and received love and support back ten-fold. I am honored that you chose me to be your mama. I am equally devastated that you couldn’t stay.

Know that I love you more than these simple words can convey and you will always be my Capt Snuggles.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , | 31 Comments

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