her hair, his heart

I'm proud of myself, that I'm mostly able to put loss in a place where it doesn't poke at my heart all the time.  But then it pokes at his.

Riding in the front of a red shopping cart, Tucker said, rather randomly, Mom, I was thinking about Celia's hair.  It was beautiful, wasn't it?  Remember it was curly?  He held back tears but I could hear sadness seep from the cracks in his voice.  I nodded, flashed him a sympathetic smile and felt the sudden need to lean on something firm.

Several times over the past few days I've fingered the small brown barrette we found when we rearranged what had been her nursery to make room for Tolliver's big boy bed last week.  Each time I felt the warm beginnings of nostalgia driven tears, and I did not sense shame in them but I could not find any wisdom in them either.  

I wonder now, during the ongoing catastrophe, whether we kept our promises to Tuck, whether we took him to the zoo and the park and the pool when we said we would, whether we read enough books and took enough walks and built enough block towers.  I don't think he resented the way we loved her, the way that parents love each of their children, with shattering devotion.  I don't think he felt slighted by the way her illness turned our days into question marks.  Even at two, he seemed to understand the difficulty of our predicament, seemed not to begrudge her theft of our good time.  When someone says He seems happier now, I try not to feel like his perceived sadness was our fault.  Nor is the sorrow that visits him now.  I believe not feeling anything at all could be somehow worse than feeling sad sometimes.

When he was a toddler, one of Tucker's very first joys seemed to come from wobble-legging around the house looking for her, giving her kisses and sharing his toys and stroking her hair.  The joy of being a brother, the joy of being alive, has always been so concentrated in him, boiled down and intense.  What pokes at my heart right now is that somewhere in his he'll always carry the ache her absence leaves.

We'll be pouring drinks at Fado from 7:30 to 8:00pm at Easton, hoping to help the Pleasure Guild raise money for hospice and remembering our little girl.


rht said...

I believe not feeling anything at all would be somehow worse than feeling sad sometimes.

Tiff said...

He reminds me so much of Gabe. An old soul. And you're right....feeling nothing at all would be worse.

Beth Ann said...

Truth be told, yes, he will always carry that ache. But as you said, feeling something is better than to feel nothing.