The children began to taste freedom last evening, as doors and windows were left open, and dinner was late. Absent were the reminders about homework and chores. Friends paraded through the house, and rummaged through the pantry –Fall Break had officially begun.
Nothing can ever be truly celebrated without a sibling sleepover. After ice cream was consumed, the linen closet emptied, and Sam’s already crowded room resembled “Once upon a Mattress,” (complete with a couple of teetering bean-bag beds), the “little ones” went to sleep. Zach was having a late night at a friend’s, Star was away “Bishoping,” and Abbie coaxed me into watching Emma Smith’s story on DVD.
Now… I already know what happens in this story. It is not a happy one. I appreciated the details and the faithful way in which Emma was portrayed. However, as those dearly anticipated babies passed away, I recognized a familiar feeling: desperate pain. A wave of grief washed over me. Mental images of Star and I in a hearse, a tiny pink casket between us; the penetrating (Dixie like) heat of the sun as we held a graveside service at the cemetery; the amazing loneliness of empty arms.
It has been six years now since little Louisa died. I have borne and kept two more babies. And yet, when those waves pull me under every once in a long while, I feel physically as though I will surely drown. I went up to Max’s room, rocked his sleeping body, and wept until exhausted. Star came. He knelt beside me, peeled the baby from my arms and tucked him into his little bed. Then he kissed my head, helped me up, and brought me into our room. He is no longer afraid of those waves. He cannot stop them. They are gone as suddenly as they have come. And only puffy eyes and a headache are reminders that they visited my world again. The intensity of grief always surprises me. But I do not wish it away.