I received an email last week.
Sometimes people email me about the blog. A gentle hand reaching out from the loss life abyss. A friend in an often desolate space. Someone searching for meaning in something awful. Someone who understands.
This email was different from any I've received before. It was from a mother who lost a little girl, just like me. She sent it six hours after learning that her daughter had died. She sent it from her hospital bed.
This particular Thursday morning was like any other. I hit the snooze three times. I kissed your brothers goodbye and I left eight minutes later than planned. My coffee went cold too fast and as I entered my dark classroom the silence paused me. The stillness of a day not yet begun, and all the quiet, calming potential.
I entered from hall duty and I exclaimed "Good Morning!" in a generic, singsong-y tone, which suggested I was more awake than I felt and which was met by 27 annoyed stares. Our every other day department meeting came and went and as I sat down for lunch at 10:40am (my school starts at an ungodly, inhuman time, but I digress...) there it was, staring up at me. Mixed in between the "Land of Nod" coupons and the J Crew flash sale updates. As if it were benign. As if I could scroll right past.
And I guess the point is that it's easy to forget. Easy for ME, even, to forget that it's still happening. Someone out there is losing their baby. Always. Right now. Tomorrow. Someone's life is changing forever.
The subject line read "Please Help", and so I opened it. And there I was in my bright, noisy classroom, the kids dropping off their backpacks en route to the cafeteria. But I was somewhere else, too.
I told her as much, and as little, because what can be said when all the words fail?
I am with you, I said. Climbing right there beside. Can you feel me?
Squeeze my hand when you feel like dying. All the strength you will earn.
My heart breaks with yours, now and every second after. And every single piece you must leave behind, lay for all eternity, with pieces of me.
I am catching your wails from the walls. Every tear, unto an experienced hand. I am holding them close; they are mine.