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This Is Love

He calls to check on me, the sounds of four children screeching in my ear, even over the speaker of the phone. His voice is on edge, as it always is when they are in their hyper mood, but it softens when he asks me how I’m doing, if I need anything. I hesitate before answering him, not wanting to bring him into the world of women, but I am bleeding our baby away and I don’t want to go to the store.

“I’ll get the pads,” he says. “I’ll get anything you need.”

This is love.

She hands it to me, the brushed glass purple, stuck still with the particles of the sand she dug it up from. She has watched me hide my tears this week, she has blinked away her own, not understanding but knowing enough to realize her mama is hurting. And she has kept it, this token all day long, waiting, bursting to give it to me. When she does, I think it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, this dollar store trinket buried and forgotten in a sandbox, a butterfly resting perfectly in my palm.

“I got this for you, Mom. I wanted you to have it.”

This is love.

Image Source: Chaunie Brusie
Image Source: Chaunie Brusie

The messages come one after another, trickling in like warm raindrops in my inbox, women I have never met, women I have known in my past, women I will probably never ever face. But still, their words are there, holding me up, carrying me when I can’t stop crying, bringing me hope and peace I didn’t know was possible.

This is love.

The pizza lines my counter, hot and steaming, a forbidden carb I haven’t let myself touch in months. I stuff my stomach with mouthfuls of cheese, tangy garlic dip on my tongue, the warm calories sliding down my throat to fill the emptiness I’m not sure will ever heal. But it is dinner, delivered to my kitchen and there are people to sit with and eat with, fires to enjoy in the cooling summer air.

This is love.

Their eyes light up, running towards the garden, the sunflowers rising tall above their heads. “Mama, look!” they shout, pointing towards the towering flowers that none of us planted. “Jesus sent you flowers to make you happy about the baby!”

This is love.

She sits in the hospital room with me, rarely leaving my side, not even laughing when I whimper over the size of the needle, a nurse who is afraid of shots. She cries when I cry, giving life to a life that will never be.

This is love.

It hurts me a little every morning, the wall I have dedicated to my children’s baby pictures, a wall that now seems to have a glaring hole on one side, a picture I can see so clearly in my mind, a picture that hangs only in my heart. But I look anyways.

This is love.

She rubs my back, the tiny hand of a toddler patting me in the soothing motion she has seen me do a thousand times to her. I let out a surprised laugh — how is she this old? So smart? — then cuddle her close to me, soaking her in, a ray of sunshine, wise beyond her years.

This is love.

He holds back, unsure if the tears will come again, because they seem to come so unexpectedly, the strain of our marriage shifting unsteadily with unseen weight. It’s a pain I seem to walk through alone, a darkness he is unable to see, but he stands by my side, stubborn, even if he can’t follow me.

This is love.

I sit in the sunshine, the fire that has seemed to drive me for so many long years suddenly burned out, the passion and drive and motivation I had to be more and do more, dissipated. Maybe it was gradual, like my loss has been, stretching out for over a month, slowly extinguishing hope, draining life and energy. But today I choose kindness for myself, sitting in silence, the phone buried away, the pointless rush of existence stilled, if just for a moment. I listen to what this body is whispering, the body I have so abused, belittled, and mocked for carrying too much weight, for having too much hair, for embarrassing me with its appearance. I don’t shy away when it whispers what I have so often denied it — chocolate, melting in my mouth, wine chilled in my glass, sleep, so much sleep, weekends spent in a haze of doing nothing and everything all at once.

It’s like I see this body in a new light, a soul that feels a thousand years aged emerging for the first time, a body I will never quite be able to mock again, a body that will never forget what was lost. Because my eyes are opened now, to these moments that I wonder have always been there, except maybe I just wasn’t looking for them. And I will keep coming back to these moments, the moments that have sustained me, that have taught me, that have shown me, even when I least expected it.

Moments of love.

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Article Posted 3 years Ago

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