Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October means...

October means scarves and ears stinging with cold. October means pumpkins, orange and red leaves that crunch under boots. October means open windows and cool mornings snuggling under blankets.

But October also means sadness slowly creeping into my heart. Not the everyday sadness that we feel year round, but a special sadness that is reserved only for fall. It means being blindsided over and over again with the crashing reality that five years ago in October I was hugely, happily pregnant with my first child.

Five years ago, I was blissfully unaware of how I would meet my son, of how broken and sad this world could be. Of how birthdays are sometimes not the happy occasion you dream they will be.
October means planning a birthday party for a little boy who will never see it... making a cake that no one will eat. October means a heaviness on my heart as the days creep toward his days... the day he died, the day he was born, the day we buried him up on the mountain next to his great-granddad.
This year, October means hiding away in my room so my sobs don't scare my precious fourth child. It means intentionally carving away time to sit with the grief that threatens to consume me if I don't.

October is the month I both dread and love. It is the last full month we had with our Owen. It is the time I look back on with affection because I was so hopeful and happy and ready to have him in my arms. I didn't know what was coming those early November days, and I feel both thankful and regretful of that. But I loved him as best as I could those last October days. Those were our days... the ones where I could barely take my hands off my growing belly. The days when I ate for the both of us, wondering what would make him dance and bounce the most. The days that I had longed for when we found out we were pregnant. The happy days just weeks from his due date. And I remember them like they were yesterday.

October means more than it did before.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A short story (2)

"I'm glad you called." Her smile fades as she looks down. I can see her lip quivering but I can't speak. I can't seem to find any words to fill this silence.

Fumbling around in her large red bag, she pulls out her wallet offering me a tiny crumpled photograph with a shaking hand. Her fingernails are chipped and worn, the bright red just a small circle in the center of her unkept nails. I make myself look into her eyes as I take the sacred item from her. There is something etched into the lines surrounding her tear-filled eyes that scares me. I can barely breathe when her hand brushes mine. The impulse to run is pounding in my ears, along with my thundering heart which I fear might explode at any moment.

"It's all... this is..." she stammers, and the words hang in the air waiting to be finished. I gulp down air in an effort to swallow the fear, the bitter taste in my mouth. I can hear her breathing hard and loud as she finds the words to finish. "This is the only..." She starts again, her voice cracking. "This is my son."

I look down at the image, at what has haunted my waking and sleeping hours these last few months. My hand is shaking and I can hardly see through the tears streaming down my face. "Charlie." I whisper, the damn breaking and flowing free over the table here in the middle of a sunny Tuesday afternoon. I hang my head and let the tears rain down on my lap not bothering to wipe them away. When I finally look up, she is smiling the tears still wet on her cheeks. She stretches her hand over the distance between us and the fear subsides, washed away by our tears.