We are tiptoeing towards five years since we lost Hadley or maybe I am stomping. I imagine if you were to brush up against me you would feel the bristle of my moods. As much as I want to be fluffy clouds and light, I am sandpaper and raw edges.
I sit at the table as my children hand me one doll after another. They are triplets and they do not cry and they go on the potty and will I babysit them? (Fluffy clouds, fluffy clouds I am telling myself.)
And of course I will babysit so I balance three plastic dolls while their “mommy” and “daddy” try to avoid the napkins in front of them, nectarine juice shining on their chins.
They are explaining, between chomps, which baby is Parker, which is McKenna, which is Hadley and, as there is with everything, there is debate over each namesake.
I am asked for the 10 millionth heart-splitting time where Hadley is and before I can finish saying she is in our hearts my son says wide-eyed, “is she dead?”
We do not use this word. Not for their sister. I can say she passed away or we lost her when she was an infant but I cannot say she is dead. I’m surprised I survived typing it.
I realize, in this moment, I must pull on my big-girl mom pants over my sandpapered skin and give answers free of gushing waterworks.
I am discussing death at my kitchen table at snack time with two four-year olds and there sister is the subject of every question, their sister.
And just when I thought that I really knew, that it had really hit me, that I had dealt with and pushed through and dug to the bottom of losing a child it struck me all over again.
I hunch carved out and hollow, fighting numbness and answering why she can’t come to our next tea party and what she would like if she could eat birthday cake.
The conversation turned to a debate over who could use the blue crayon and signaled my freedom. They are made of rubber I think, I would like to borrow some.
I push myself up to move through the rest of my day… appointments and dinner and bedtime but I am still there.
Emptied out, sitting at a kitchen table with too many chairs.
and that was just write
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