This is a rough story I just wrote. It feels awkward in parts and needs a lot more polish I’d wager but I wanted to share it. Heck, if it ever IS evened out then maybe I can do something else with it. For now, here’s a rough version of a dark little tale.
A mother shouldn’t have to bury her baby.
It’s against God and all His angels.
This is God’s will.
This is God’s plan.
Who am I to deny it?
I have lost two beautiful stars to the heavens, two perfect sunbeams to the darkness, and have had two of my own sent where I cannot follow. It is soul crushing. Every day I can feel the weight of them in my arms still, can feel them in my belly, even hearing their cries in the night as I am asleep. They speak to me and through my veil of tears I can still see them lying there in bed beside me, holding hands with oen another as they smile at me. At least they are together in Heaven. At least there is that small solace. At least there is that small mercy. Even if it does mean I am all alone.
After Daniel died the women at work and in church fawned over me, bringing me dinner, offering to come sit with me at lunch or at night, and actually caring, genuinely caring about me and my well-being – the first time I had had that since I was a little girl. As a child I was invisible. The third child of five. The middle child of parents who worked multiple jobs and who were too busy with the others to notice me. I wasn’t the first, I wasn’t the last, I was just stuck in the middle. Oh, they asked how my day was, they asked how I was, and they made the efforts like good parents but they weren’t. They weren’t. They didn’t care about me. It was an act. It was their job. They did it because they had to and I hated them for that. I saw how they laughed with my brothers and sisters, how they joked, how they played while I sat alone, refusing to be pitied and pandered to. All I wanted in the world was all of their attention and I would never have it. Never. It wasn’t until Robbie, the youngest of us, drowned in the pond behind the house that they started to care. I had been with him at the end and they knew how terrible it had been for me to watch as he struggled before the waters took and they told me they loved me and that Robbie had loved me. I had been helpless when he drowned. I had never learned to swim and so there was nothing I could do to save him. Nothing. All I could do was watch over the course of those twenty minutes as he ran out of energy and finally lost the fight and sunk below the surface. There was nothing I could do. Afterwards I ran and got Anne, the oldest of us, and she swam out to get Robbie but it was too late. He was gone. He was gone and all of a sudden my parents saw me. My family saw me. They all saw me and they all loved me. They all loved me until Anne started asking questions. They loved me until something else took their attention away.
It was the same thing at work. When I was pregnant everyone cared, everyone loved me, and everyone wanted to know how I was. I was just an abandoned woman, left by the father of the child, all alone in the world. When Daniel was born though the focus moved to him and I was forgotten again.
‘How is Danny?’
‘How is the baby?’
‘How is that pretty boy of yours?’
That was all I heard. I wasn’t asked how I was. I wasn’t asked how I found time to sleep. I wasn’t asked about who watched Daniel when I was at work. No one cared about me anymore. Everything was about Daniel. The world only gave a damn for him. Within months I came to hate him. I would stand over him and watch him sleep and think about how I wish he’d just roll over and suffocate himself or maybe he could just fall out of the crib and…and I would cry myself to sleep thinking about these things. What sort of mother was I to think all of these black thoughts? I loved my baby. I loved my Daniel. He was my world. I would never hurt him. Then one night he was taken away from me. Somehow he had gotten one of his baby spoons in the crib with him and he must have been playing with it and he choked to death on it while I was asleep. I found him the next morning and he was cold and blue. The world spun, the floor fell away, and I was all alone again with no one to love me.
Like saints my congregation descended to care for me and look after me and my co-workers too suddenly remembered my name and helped me through that difficult time. For two months I was the center of attention and it felt wonderful. It was like laying in warm Spring sunshine. People looked out for me, cooked for me, asked me to go out with them for lunch and dinner. I was never alone. I had friends. It lasted until a girl caught pregnant at work and a teenager at the church succumbed to cancer and then my loss wasn’t so great any longer. My pain wasn’t as important any longer. I wasn’t alone though, no, I had Daniel with me, singing to me, speaking to me, cooing to me when I would cry myself to sleep. He knew it wasn’t my fault he had died and he forgave me. He forgave me. But Daniel didn’t want me to be alone. God didn’t want me to be alone. He wanted me to have someone that would love me. Someone that had to love me. Daniel told me God had another angel put aside for me, another angel to love me and only me and I just had to do the work to make that miracle come true.
I don’t remember Daniel’s father’s name. I don’t remember Angela’s father’s name either. It doesn’t matter though because they were merely vessels that carried the seeds that I was to bear. It took several tries with brutish, drunken man but it was worth it because in the end I was given my Angela and with Angela came the attention and love once more but with her birth that attention shifted again. It was the same cycle I had been in since Robbie’s death, only with Robbie there were questions, so many questions, so many that I ran away to escape them and never went back. They wanted to know what had happened, why I had waited so long, why his pockets had been full of rocks, questions and questions and questions and so I ran away, far enough away that they’d never find me. They didn’t know what it had been like. They didn’t understand and they never would. I thought things would be different with Angela, different than it had been with Daniel but I was wrong. With Angela it was just her, her, her, that’s all the people cared about. It was even worse than it had been with Daniel.
She was an angel.
I was just shit.
My anger came sooner with Angela, and was fiercer and while she slept I would put things over her face, over her mouth just to see what it felt like, not meaning to do anything but wanting to see what it felt like. I didn’t get the sick feeling I did when I did the same things to Daniel, no, I didn’t feel guilt, I just felt cold. I couldn’t stand the guilt, even if Daniel had forgiven me, but I could stand the cold. I was used to the cold.
Angela died nine months after she was born, almost to the day. She drowned, like my brother Robbie. I had stepped away from the wash basin to check on our dinner and when I got back she was face down under the water. I tried but couldn’t save her. It was too late. The police came again, as they had with Daniel, and this time they clucked their tongues at me and asked me so many questions that my brain started to hurt and my skin got hot but they finally left and that was that. I was negligent but it was an accident. Of course it was an accident. How could I kill my child? Only a monster would murder a child.
Work and the church were not as sympathetic this time and some people actually acted as if I had been at fault in her death. Some said I shouldn’t have left her side, and that I should have known better, and that I should have had her taken away. What did they know about me? What did they know about my life? I cared for Angela, I loved her, I took care of her. I was her MOTHER. No one could take her away. Oh how the hens clucked though and what gentle talk there was was centered on her, on poor Angela and how she had died too young. How sad it was that this innocent had been taken by death. No one cared about me or my loss. No one cared about what I was going through. No one bothered to check on my condition.
I hate them all.
I could not hate Angela any longer though, no, my hate was gone and in its place was cold emptiness. A desperate chasm of loneliness. Where was my love? But they were still with me, my children. My babies came and spoke to me at night, and they sang to me, and they told me they forgave me and loved me, and that they wanted me to be happy. They told me that God was good. God was love. God had a plan. My tears stopped and I listened intently to my children as they whispered to me from the darkness that God had set aside another angel for me and that this time, this time the love I felt wouldn’t fade, the attention I wanted wouldn’t disappear, and that this time, this time things would be ok.
God was good.
Love’s seed was waiting for me.
All I needed to do was the work.
I got out of bed and dressed, wanting to get to work as quickly was possible. Love may be patient but I was not. I am just not a patient woman. It’s my one flaw. Besides, this was God’s plan for me so who was I to deny it?
Who am I?