And just like that, there are two thoughts that calm the storm.
September 01, 2011

We’re sitting on a park bench, she and I, watching our children play together and letting the silence of an early morning fill the space between us.  We are old friends.  Sometimes the best part of a tried and true friendship is the silence.

Then she speaks.  “I cannot imagine,” she says, “what your heart must be going through right now.  How are you holding up?  I am so sorry.”

She isn’t the first person to say this to me and I repeat the ordinary things.  It is what it is, I say.  It’s a sign that I should trust my body, that my body knew that something was wrong.  Possibly this is how my family is meant to be built.

The child would have had a shell of a life, I say, and when we look at our children I add: I would do anything for my children and if sparing Aurora from pain means enduring a bit of my own I’ll do it.

This is the only thought that calms the storm.

Then it is quiet again and I wait, thinking, before breaking the silence.  “I wish that people would stop worrying about me.  I wish they’d ask how Charlotte is doing.  I wish they’d worry about what her heart is going through.”  My voice is trembling and the words pour out and suddenly there they are, hanging between us, and I am acutely aware that I must sound like an ungrateful ass.  I want to reel the words back in, want to apologize, but then I shrug.

I trust my friend.  She knows what I mean.

The silence seeps back in and we sit there, side by side, listening to our children exclaim and giggle as they play.  The seconds stretch into minutes and then I feel a hand on my back.

“Hey,” she says and she scoots a little closer.  “The only reason I didn’t ask about how Charlotte’s doing is because I can see that she’s okay.  Even in your weakest moments, you and Donald have been very strong parents.  I know that you feel like you’ve compromised so much, but you really haven’t.  You did what you needed to do to survive.  And look at her, Sarah, look at her right now.”

Charlotte is building a pile of wood chips under the slide.  She’s smiling and babbling to herself.

“You used to be the happiest person I knew,” I hear my friend’s voice continuing.  “None of what you’re feeling is weird or wrong and I know that you’ll come out of this in your own good time.  But right now, I want you to know that when I check in on you it isn’t because I don’t care about Charlotte.  I love her like my own and you know that.”

She takes a breath.  “It’s because I know that your heart hurts, but Charlotte?  Charlotte’s heart is happy.”

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  1. By on September 01, 2011

    What an amazing friend!

  2. By KBREINTS on September 01, 2011

    *THIS* MADE me shed a tear.

  3. By Sarah on September 01, 2011

    she sounds like a keeper :)

  4. By Meagan on September 01, 2011

    What an awesome friend! :) Keep her close!

  5. By allie on September 01, 2011

    I definitely teared up reading this. What a beautiful thing for your friend to say!

  6. By mommica on September 01, 2011

    It’s hard for people to know what to say in situations like these. Real friends know to just be honest. :)

  7. By on September 01, 2011

    Incredible heart on that friend.  Incredible.  Sending love to your family.

  8. By Megan on September 01, 2011

    Her heart is happy because you are a wonderful mother!

  9. By on September 01, 2011

    I’m loving the picture of Charlotte!  That girl has such charm and personality…with a little bit of sass rolled in there, too :)

    And your friend…she’s a keeper!

  10. By Cindy A on September 01, 2011

    These words are so very true.  Sarah, our children they are strong (even when times are unbearable), strong hearts, happy hearts.  They see the world a lot differently than we do.  Charlotte is happy, I too saw this on Wednesday, she is filled with Joy. <3


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