Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Letting myself off the hook

Monday morning right after his second bowl of Cheerios and only a half hour before he said he was starving again, Deaglan looked over at me and asked Mommy are you missing Uncle Matt?

Just like that.
Out of the clear blue sky.

I haven't told him that my brother is gone from here. Even writing that makes me ache. I don't see the point in telling a three year old what that means. I honestly don't know if he has the capacity to comprehend. It stressed me out though, this small earthly boy asking such a cosmic question.

All at once I felt like Atlas with that crushing globe on his shoulder. Burdened. Ever have one of those moments? Where you felt puny? Inadequate? 

But I focused.
Didn't fall apart.
Didn't choke back tears.

Soberly I looked at my first born and said yes I do, I miss him all the time. And you know the blanket of comfort that three foot wonder wrapped me in? It's okay Mommy, we'll go visit his house and you'll feel better.  

I left it
right there.

Then I pushed the door to my psyche open a crack and tossed this in with all the the other junk I'm not ready to deal with. Even still, I caught a glimpse of all that other stuff and I reeled a little. 

I steadied myself on the smooth cool arm of the recliner.

Questions sliced through the spacey parts of my throat where the knot had formed. How I will ever convey all the things I want them to know? Carry with them.  

Like my ocean-sized love for my brother.  My heartache that he didn't meet my little Naveen. That I can't taste cold chardonnay or chocolate peanut butter balls  without hearing  his laugh.

I hugged him last Easter with my tiny boy growing snugly inside, burgeoning. I said I can't wait to get home and put on my comfy pants. And he laughed a light little laugh and cautiously patted my belly. I never saw him again.

The depth of such
an undertaking, to precisely depict Matthew, who he was to me,
a medley of pluck and slight,
threatened to swallow me.

So I left it
right there,
And I forgave myself, reasoning these could be matters for another day.

This is my entry for The Red Dress Club's prompt forgiveness.


  1. Kim, your open heart is so evident in these words. Thank you for sharing your beautiful soul with us. If only I could jump on a plane and give you a hug...

  2. I'm stopping by from the Red Dress Club!

    Your piece brought tears to my eyes. You explained how you felt in such real terms I could feel it too. So sorry about your brother...

  3. Your sadness and grief pour right out of the screen.

    I loved the spacing and paragraph breaks that you chose. Your piece flowed so easily because of them, despite the raw topic.

    Your attention to detail (cold chardonnay, chocolate peanut butter balls really drew me in.

    These words: "the blanket of comfort that three foot wonder wrapped me in" are beautiful, perfect.

  4. When my Gran died in 2009, Josh was living with his dad so he wasn't here to see the grief and the pain that the rest of the family was going through. Very recently he was watching TV with me and the screen saver on my laptop are the pictures saved on the computer. A picture of Gran came up and Josh started talking about her and how much he missed her. Almost 2 years after her death he went through the grieving process and in turn brought me back along for the ride. I know everyone tells you it will get better but who's to say what better is. I hope when I get a glimpse of something that reminds me of her that I get tears in my eyes of not only grief but of joy for that memory.

  5. Writing about grief is so hard. Your use of spacing and prose interspaced with free form poetry made it easier on your reader--it gave us breaks. You allowed us places to take a breath, which we needed. This was such a powerful piece. I wanted to reach in and offer you a hug that I understand would comfort me more than you. I wanted to pick a line and offer it to you as an example of a moving piece of language but there are too many. Well done.

  6. Beautiful. Painful and sharp, like grief itself, I loved this piece.

    And I have some idea of what it took to write it. Kudos on going to the hard place with such elegance and transparency.

    Maybe for a while, it would help to switch from Chardonnay to Moscato? :-) Hugs. I'm joining your site right back.

  7. I can't imagine what you must go through having lost your brother. You entry is lovely and really communicates the emotions you're feeling. I am so sorry for your loss.

  8. your words tugged at my heart again. you are a very talented writer. thank you for that wonderful piece.....

  9. You truly captured the aching of your heart. I love the way you wrote out with the spaces. It added to the emotion of the moment.

    I replied to your comment on my post. If you want to check out things I wrote less vaguely then I explained where you can find them there.

  10. I thought that the sharpness and depth of your grief was painfully clear and coupled with your confusion over what to tell you son exactly created an really interesting tension that was highlighted with the prose and poetry swing.

    I too liked the little details but felt that one detail that might have helped me understand your grief even more which was knowing how your brother died. Not necessarily even more than, accident, sickness etc. but it might add an anchor to the piece.

    These ending lines are beautiful and I especially loved the word choice of reasoning.

    "So I left it
    right there,
    And I forgave myself, reasoning these could be matters for another day."

  11. This made my heart ache for you!

    And the intuitive nature of your little one is just incredible. Children are so wise!

    I loved this: "Then I pushed the door to my psyche open a crack and tossed this in with all the the other junk I'm not ready to deal with. Even still, I caught a glimpse of all that other stuff and I reeled a little." I could really feel that and identify.

  12. Oh. I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot begin to imagine what it must have been like to hear those words from such a tiny person, and grapple for the ways to explain. I think you deserve to leave it all as is, and thank you for sharing this with us all.

  13. Your writing is perfection!
    So honest and raw!
    I. Love. It.

    This post yanked my heart out.
    I ache for you.
    You have a fantastic sense of self.. you are correct.
    Save this for another day.

  14. So heartbreaking.

    You were right to leave it there. How do you explain to someone so young?

    I'm sorry for your loss.

  15. This post gave me chills and made me feel a familiar sorrow.

    My little cousin was about Deaglan's age when our granddad died two years ago. He couldn't comprehend and kept asking questions, with the innocence of a child. During the funeral, a group of uniformed Marines did a 21-gun salute (Granddad was a retired Marine), and my cousin cried. He asked, "Why did those men shoot PawPaw?" It broke my heart.

    And you're right to forgive yourself, although I don't think you've done anything that really requires forgiveness. Everyone deals with grief differently and you have to do it in your own time, by your own devices.

  16. Fantastic. Your imagery is palpable. Like this line: "That I can't taste cold chardonnay or chocolate peanut butter balls without hearing his laugh."

    Here is my other favorite. "It stressed me out though, this small earthly boy asking such a cosmic question."

    Well done. Stopping by from the red dress club. Thanks for visiting before my little blog break. I am your newest follower.

  17. My heart goes out to you my friend. I'm thinking of you...


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