August 2, 1982; I watch as my frightened children are taken away by a man they don;t remember. the monster who sent us into the streets to begin with has changed, just as my parents had said. He can now give them all the material things they would need. All I have for them is love and sadly Love is not enough to keep them alive.
As the van disappears out of sight I fall to the ground sobbing uncontrollably. My heart will never be the same. My life will never be the same. What have I done? I am a horrible mother. I loved them so very much. I loved them enough to let them go and have what was left of their childhoods.
I cling to the infant remaining and I take from him now. I take the comfort I should be offering him. But I take, and as I take, I want death to take me, knowing I may never again see the part of my heart that shattered as I watched the first loves of my life go from me forever. But the beat of another heart, a tiny heart filled with love for me is keeping me from ending my life.
June 9th, 2010: It's a pillow. A silly pillow that for one brief moment became my babies at the moment of each of their births.
August 1983: I had gone into a K-mart to buy diapers for my rapidly growing son, peacefully sleeping in the seat of the shopping cart. I walk past the toy section. I pick up a truck. The kind with the barrel on the back that turns and rotates, changing the sand from the playground into mortar for the fort a little boy would play in. I run my finger over the wheels, the crank, the barrel itself and I think about my son that may be playing with this treasure someday.
I continue on my quest. I browse the girls section, looking for just the right dress. I find the one I am looking for. A pretty blue satin, the color of her eyes. It has lace around the pinafore, the sleeves the heart shaped neck.
I must go. I will be late. I toss the dress in the cart and walk as fast as I can to the dressing rooms. I choose the biggest one. It must be big enough to bring the whole cart in. I quietly close the door behind me. I take the truck and the dress in my arms. With my back up against the wall, I slowly sink to the ground. I almost didn't make it before the tears start.
I hold the truck and think of the son who should be playing with it but is no longer here. the son who will never know the fell of his mothers kiss on the scraped knee he received as he slid into home base. I bring the dress to my nose and inhale. I swear I can smell the fragrance of my daughter. The daughter who will never know what it is like to have her mother lovingly brush her hair.
The tears never stop. I walk past a baseball cap and I cry. I walk past a pair of ballet slippers and I cry. I walk past their favorite foods and I cry. I have not been complete for a long time.
He begins to stir. I quickly wipe away the tears. He mustn't know. He mustn't know that although I love him dearly, he isn't enough to fill the hole in my heart. He isn't enough to make me laugh. He isn't enough to make me happy. He isn't enough.
I lay back on the seat that night, with my son, barely walking, cradled on my chest. I hold him tightly as I recall the brother and sister he will never know. The rhythm of my heartbeat lulls him to sleep. It skips a beat now and then as I think of my children being tucked in by another woman. But he sleeps through the irregularities of the pulse.
April 3, 1984; It is the first day since February 2, 1979 that the roof over our head is our very own. It is the first night in a bed in more than 5 years. But we cannot sleep, each for our own reason. The bed is too soft. I have been sleeping in a car seat, a church pew or the ground. It is what I am used to. It is all I know.
Josh does not have the cadence of my heart to fall asleep to. He needs the sound he has grown so accustomed to. He needs the comfort of the arms that held him close for five days shy of three years. Quietly, I lower to the ground, with my sleepy child quieting as he curls his fingers in the security blanket of my hair. We sleep now. Me on the floor, he in my arms again.
It doesn't feel like home yet. It will in time. But not quite yet.