The cards twirl on the stand. One wings its way to a grieving family. It is a feather weight against the weight of grief of a child gone much too soon.
A mother holds her child He looks like he’s sleeping. His body slumps with the bonelessness of sleeping children. She cradles him in her arms looking down at his face. But his eyes will open no more. His body is warm. It is cooling slowly, imperceptibly. For now, a mother can fool herself that he will somehow breathe. Jerk awake, re-open those huge big beautiful eyes.
For this time only, she can pretend. Grieve what she knows will never be while pretending that this really isn’t happening at all. She delays the moment when the fork in the road is too hard to ignore. When someone will carry her child as a body, not as a son.
The days, the weeks, the months and the years are still to come. The anniversaries of his age group will pass with only this weight, this scant warmth to keep her memories alive. To hold up against what could have been. She is young. There are other children. Now in another place playing quietly, still innocent of this pain. Children to come, too.
But this quiet form will stand guard over her heart for the rest of her days. In the quiet times, this small ghost will stand next to her until they are both in that shaded land together. She will hold his hand in every quiet moment.
No matter the years, the count of ones children will always be wrong. Always a small silent addition to the figures that stand by her side. She will carry her scarred heart in silent pain.
For now, she holds this cooling body tightly in her arms. He’s heavy, but letting go is a one way journey and she’s not ready to step across into that everlasting void. Better to hold out hope for that wakening. Cry now and then forever hold that peace that never truly comes.
A card wings its way into the depths of grief. Floating weightlessly past that heavy heart that has no end. It will never patch this heart.
In memoriam: Margotje, Sasha and … Fletcher