Would Losing A Child Break You Down?

woman-and-man-break-upSo..I like to write, if that wasn’t already obvious to the naked eye, what with me owning a blog and all. But what you may not know is that I really, really like writing. There are times in my life when I say “screw it all, let me just sit down and become a famous author!”. Yes, I do understand it’s not quite that easy, but the way in which I am able to totally get lost in my story as I’m creating it, the way in which I NEVER proof read or edit or whatever else, and somehow or another it all comes out pretty flawless (I’m talking spelling and grammar-wise – if you don’t like my style of writing, obviously it wouldn’t seem so “perfect” to you, but you can’t argue that semantically it’s pretty damn good!) all makes me think that writing was what I was born to do. Of course, I have other ambitions which currently trump writing for the moment, so I get my release by making entries in my blog, but also by writing poetry and short stories. I actually have  a few of them posted on my website www.25andalive.tk. For those observant few of you, you’ll notice this is also the website where you could find my Digital Stories.

Anyway, so I thought I would give you a little taste of my short story writing abilities. I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know what you think…and let me know if the actual story inspires any thoughts, feelings, or memories from you.

A Classic Ruby Original

She runs frantically from room to room, desperately searching for the children she knows aren’t there. She is in tears, on the verge of hysteria. It is almost as though she cant feel her legs anymore, and for a brief moment she wonders how it is possible that her legs still be pumping rapidly underneath her, propelling her from room to room. She doesn’t pause to think however, can’t focus on anything but her task. When she is not going through a panic attack, she wonders whether its the strength of a mothers love or the weakness of a traumatized mind that can keep her moving like this, sometimes for hours, never stopping, never thinking of anything but finding her children, never even feeling remotely tired. Knowing that the search is futile, but not being able to give up-being compelled by some inner demon, to the observer appearing almost as though she was being chased by an invisible monster.

And then the inevitable realization that her children are not there, will not be hidden in a cupboard or under a bed in a secret game of hide and seek. The realization that she could search forever and, just because she really desires to find them safe and secure, doesnt mean she can just will that to be true. She stops then, perfectly still and silent, struck dumb by the thought. And then comes the profound misery. It wracks her entire body, makes the strength seep slowly though her feet, bringing her down to the floor in an unnaturally slow fashion. Her face slowly crumbles as the wave of misery finally reaches it. You would think if you were watching her that she was bound to a steak and that the fire was slowly creeping its way up toward her, that she was being forced to wait for her own slow, painful death, which was imminent.

But the worst part is the confusion. Her eyes, wide, sometimes shut tightly as a fearful child may do, show how truly bewildered she feels. How entirely baffled by what is happening she is. Like she woke up and was bound to the steak with the fire creeping slowly toward her, only she had done nothing wrong and through all the fear and despair, and hysteria, she is shouting Why, why, what have I done? What have I done? but nobody can hear her pleas for an answer. Theyre chanting for her death, they cheer as the fire begins to engulf her, drowning out her screams, creating so much smoke that nobody can see her eyes in those final moments, nobody can see the tears, and nobody can see the stamp of innocent across her forehead put there by God to vindicate her in life before death.

When the last bit of grief is wrenched from her, when she has cried until she can cry no more, she remains coiled on the floor in the spot she has laid in since the sorrow overcame her. She is numb; she cannot even feel the pool of tears collected on the floor under her cheek. She is tired, but she cannot sleep. The exhaustion has forced her into a near comatose state, where she could no more will her arm to move than she could will her children back into existence. She doesnt know how long it has been since she shed her last tear, although she could care no less. She hears a key in the door, and hears the quiet creaking of the door as it slowly slides open.

man-consoles-woman“Laura? Honey.oh God, Laura, Laura!!” It is her husband, Paul; although even after his once his ruggedly handsome face appears in front of her she does not recognize him. She wants to die. She hopes this stranger takes her life, puts her out of her misery. She would do it herself but she doesnt have the courage.

“Oh Laura, baby. Honey, Im sorry, I know, I know.” He lifts her onto his lap, the tears coursing down his cheeks. He is making an effort to be strong for her, but is failing. He clenches her into him, and rocks her slowly, murmuring sweet words of comfort, love, and encouragement. He doesn’t want his grief to show, doesn’t want to compound her grief with his own, and yet he cannot help but sob quietly over her. Suddenly, she seems to know who he is again, and although she was sure all the distress she had been experiencing was over, was sure that she no longer had the energy to move, let alone to cry, she feels the tears well up in her eyes. She looks into his eyes, connecting immediately with the soul that lies within. She can feel his grief, can feel his simultaneous desire to banish his sorrow as well as her own.

“Oh Paul! I’m sorry! I’m sorry, I just couldn’t…I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t….” She reaches up to touch his cheek, feels the rough stubble against her palm as she strokes it, trying to bring him some solace. After a moment, he covers her hand with his own and slowly slides it over his lips, kissing her palm tenderly.

“Don’t. You don’t have to apologize. I knew today would be a bad day for you. I’m sorry I left you alone for so long. I had planned on coming home early, but there was some business at the office I had to take care of…” He trails off distractedly, unconsciously rubbing his wife back, feeling the warmth of her skin through her silk nightgown.

A picture has caught his eye, and he cannot stop staring on it. It is a picture of him and Laura and their three little girls, taken shortly before they’re mysterious disappearance. Their oldest, Tammy, was 13 at the time, her long, bushy black hair in its standard ponytail, her gangly body in her favourite pair of overalls and her bulls t-shirt. Their middle child, only eight, was the complete opposite of her tomboy older sister. Dressed in a frilly pink princess dress, Tina’s chubby pink cheeks were framed by her golden ringlets. The pink ribbon she had tied in her hair that day was askew, and almost made her look like one of her dolls. They’re youngest, only 3, seemed to be the perfect mix of both of her sisters. Jann had Tammys dark black hair and Tinas chubby pink cheeks. She wasn’t old enough to have developed her own style yet, and was wearing an outfit that matched her mothers. Laura was clad in a white skirt, blue baby T, and dark wash denim jacket. She was holding Jann on her hip, beaming out at the camera. This was a rare vacation picture-one in which they all appeared. A nice old man had offered to take the picture while we were looking at the falls, saying that the way they were standing seemed like the perfect Kodak moment.

He glances at his reflection in the mirror, and can see that in the past year he has aged dramatically. His once full, thick head of golden hair has thinned, and grayed at the temples. His once rugged, youthful face was now pale and gaunt, and worry lines had already taken shape around his eyes. But the true change had really taken place in Laura. Once a happy, vivacious woman, with vivid blue eyes, and thick curly black hair, she was now only a shell of her former self. Her eyes now appeared gray, and unfocused. She had cut her hair short, but with lack of grooming her once healthy curls now seemed limp and dull. Her face had developed the deep lines associated with aging almost overnight. The muscle tone she had developed from her love of hiking had entirely disappeared. Losing their children seemed to have meant losing themselves and all that they were worth.

frustrated-manHe can see that Laura is finally starting to calm down. Her eyes are getting droopy, and her breathing is becoming deeper and more consistent. With her still in his arms, he struggles to his feet. With all the tender care one would handle their newborn baby he carries her into their room and places her on the bed. Before he has even tucked her into bed, she is fast asleep. He kisses her softly on her forehead before leaving the room. Once back in the living room he all but collapses onto the couch. These episodes were getting more frequent and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could deal with them. The resentment was starting to churn within him, starting to sour his love for his wife. She was everything he had ever wanted in a woman. Or, at least, she had been. He could understand she was going through things, but damn it, they were HIS kids too!! Tears of frustration came to his eyes, and he wiped them away with his shirt. He felt so selfish for feeling this way, but he couldn’t help it. It had been a year from today when they had woken up to this hell. A year of him taking care of their lives while she mourned her kidnapped children! And yet, he never had a chance to mourn, never had a chance to stop life for a moment and feel sorry for himself. And then he had to come home everyday to this shit!!

His fists are clenched tight; so tight that his short fingernails were piercing his palm. He did not feel the pain of as much as he noticed the blood slowly leaking onto their white shag carpet. Shit! Something else he would have to take care of! But not now. Now he was going to take the time to mourn his children the way they deserved to be mourned. Not to be depressed and freak out! You think that’s what they’d really want, Laura? For their parents to stop living their lives? For us to give in to the sorrow and be defeated? We dont even know if they’re dead or alive, for Christs sake! He had been lying on the couch, but he couldnt bear the frustration clashing through his soul. He tried to pace it off, tried to walk it off, but it wasn’t helping. Why couldn’t she just but normal?

He doesnt at first know where the sound is coming from, but it seems to have such profound meaning that he cant ignore it. He finally realizes that the sound is him, that he is screaming, grunting, punching the couch, punching the wall, throwing things from their perch against anything. The frenzy that has overtaken him shocks the hell out of him. As he listens to himself, as he watches himself throw this tantrum, it is as though he is an observer, rather than a participator. He can see his face, red and inflamed, eyes fiery, lips set apart in a snarl. Then he is immersed in himself again, in these feelings that he doesnt want to feel. In this rage that he has been suppressing all this time. And yet lashing out in this way is doing nothing to calm him. And then, seconds before his fist connects with the armchair he envisions Lauras face at the point of impact. And as he is pulling back, he realizes how satisfying that felt. How happy he feels that he had just punched the selfish, pathetic face of his burden of a wife! Soon, every point of impact is her.

“I…Hate…you…I…HATE…you…I…HATE…YOU!!!!” The words are punctuated by each blow he lands. It becomes a catharsis, this chant. It consumes his whole being until suddenly he is lying down, sobbing the words. He wants to feel guilty about this, knows he shouldnt be feeling this way, shouldnt be doing this, shouldnt want to hurt his wife, and yet he cant help the feeling. He pulls his knees into his chest, clutching a pillow to his stomach fiercely, still sobbing his wicked chant. Blindly, he reaches toward the coffee table, half rolling, half falling to the floor. He opens the cabinet under the table and reaches toward the bottom of the pile of albums, looking for the one he had hidden there. Inside, all the newspaper accounts of his childrens disappearances are located; something his wife was never able to look through. He begins flipping through the pages blindly, trying his best to focus through the tears still pouring out of his eyes, trying to understand the words through the never ending chant he is compelled to mutter. Why did this have to happen to him? He has lost his entire family, and he cant even give himself a good reason why.

He senses Laura standing over him now, senses that she knows who he hates and why he has had this outburst. He knows that he should look up at her, tell her that he doesnt mean it, but he cant bring himself to do this. She stands there for a moment, and he can feel how hurt she is by all of this, but he cant even bring himself to reach out and touch her, to try and let her in and share his grief with her. She hasnt been there in so long, hasnt been able to think of anything but herself and what she was going through. How could he let her in now? Why should he? Suddenly he feels guilty. It occurs to him that he should be protecting her, not throwing tantrums to exacerbate her pain. He cant believe he has been so selfish tonight, cant believe he has done this to her. Still, he cannot bring himself to do anything to stop this madness, to console her.

After a while she walks away, and he knows he should go after her, knows he should do something to make this right. He cant. He fears what may happen. He fears that if she were to break down and cry, if she were to dismiss his feelings once again that he may lash out at her for real. He hears the bathroom cabinet open and close, and wonders what she is looking for. He hopes its the Tylenol bottle. He hopes she is taking the whole thing with whatever she has taken from the fridge. He hopes that will finally bring her some peace. He knows he should do something, but he cant. He hears her return to their room and hears the quiet click of the lock. He hopes eventually hell have the strength to call 911 before its too late. He wonders if he even wants to.

So what did you think? Did you like it? Have you ever been in, or know someone who has been in, a similar situation? *nervously awaiting your opinions*



2 thoughts on “Would Losing A Child Break You Down?

  1. You definitely laid all the raw emotions on the table. Almost hit them dead on…it’s challenging to remember your spouse and his/her feelings when a loss occurs. It’s like all communication is erased and you know how to minimally care for one another, because that’s all the energy you contain. Before you realize it, minutes turn into days and days into months; in the blink of an eye you realize what a zombie you have been. With a slap in the face; you become aware that your spouse is feeling similar thoughts and feelings. The sting of the handprint helps you snap out of it for a moment while you reflect how you’ve acted in the past few months. PAIN was so sharp it poked through your eyeballs and you couldn’t notice how selfish you were being. Time slowly passes as the two of you grow closer emotionally and spiritually…but time is the only factor, so have patience.


    1. @MazdaMama
      Beautifully stated and artistically beautiful and yet broken somehow. It’s the complex strange little dance that is severe depression. Nobody chooses to shut down, to become negligent of all others and other things in the world and their lives…this is why it is a psychological disorder and not just a random low mood. I hope any person, man woman or child, who is going through such a low seeks help. Time is a factor, as is patience: but there is therapy, support groups, medication, natural remedies and other things that can be done to help alleviate some of the symptoms until you are able, over time, to get back up and start your life again. Thank you for your comment, it really touched me.


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