Word Winding

attempting to spin cacophony into sanity

Archive for the tag “loss”

13 to 31

Swap the digits and behold
How child turns to mother
How fragile becomes bold

Maternal cocoon lost, greatly mourned
Daughter once shattered
Now re-formed.

Wisdom longed for
Loving arms craved
Sheltering comfort destroyed

All now spring up
From within and around
A renewable source: heart, re-joyed.



With love for duct tape

During library time in the fourth grade, a close friend and her new friend said they didn’t want to play with me anymore, and I sat there behind them on the close-shorn carpet, my heart in flames.

That was the first time.

One evening in fifth grade, while my mom was at book club, I walked blithely into my sister’s room and stopped short. Our father sat next to her on the bed, clearly in mid-sentence. Her face was blotchy, tear-drenched. At his direction I went to take my bath. Sitting there, staring at the familiar friendly face of the faucet, I tried to imagine what could make my sister cry like that, and an answer immediately rose from nowhere: divorce. I quickly banished the thought. But later, once I was snug in bed, my dad came in to say goodnight. In his preoccupation he sat on my legs and before I could do anything about it he told me. They were separating.

That was the second time.

In sixth grade, my best friend abruptly stopped hanging out with me. As neighbors, we inevitably trekked similar paths to and from school no matter how many detours I took, her with friends, me alone, and within my preteen mind all of their giggles spotlit flaws I hadn’t owned before. Our history ran back to toddlerhood and so I stood holding the severed threads of our friendship for a long time, never sure why.

That was the third time.

In seventh grade my mom told us she had cancer. We were in the kitchen. She had been to the doctor to see about a persistent cough. I remember nothing of what she said. I think I was at the table. I think she was standing. I do not remember the time of day. I do not remember what her face looked like.

That was the fourth time.

In eighth grade, again in the kitchen, my mom gathered me into her lap, coltish legs and all, and told me she was dying. And then she comforted me while we cried. She lovingly, selflessly, bravely answered childish questions like where will I live and who will take care of me while I buried myself into the solidity of her flesh and tried but was unable to fathom a world without.

A month later, she was gone.

That was the last time.

For many people, I imagine their story of the word “heartbreak” begins at that age where mine ended, conjures up images of their first failed romance and continues on, perhaps for decades.

But not for me. Everything from that point on, no matter how devastating, has landed with impact but without shattering. Her last gift was an explosion that taught me where center is and how to piece myself back together around it with love for duct tape.

Because after your heart splinters into shards, living becomes a choice instead of a default. You meet your strengths and your weaknesses both. You learn their exact contours, how to identify them in the dark. And in reassembling them, you claim them all.




An odd oasis in the midst of one heck of a chaotic week, I find myself at home and unscheduled all day long.

After an early wakeup (which Thor was kind enough to attend to before heading off to work), Platypup graced me with a nap of significant duration, allowing Owlet and I to make valentines.

I am clumsily attempting to cherish my family today. So far, rather than improving myself in the face of my friends’ terrible loss, I have been far from my best. I have been cranky, ungrateful, stingy, and inattentive. I have yelled, whined, grumbled, and exercised a sarcasm muscle that was already quite toned.

In short, I have been entirely unworthy of the gifts of life and love around me. It hasn’t felt intentional, but to the outside observer, it must appear that I am willfully squandering my bounty.


Today, we made valentines. With glitter glue and crayons we painstakingly etched out our love for one another. There were still plenty of whines, cries, and yells, but much fewer of them were mine.

Start small.

Saturday I need to make beautiful music for two mommies who miss their little boy very much.

Lets just say I’m working my way up to that.

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