We walk to the pharmacy, my girl and I, the wheels of her stroller rattling over sticks and fallen leaves. Under the shadow of trees she turns to me. I feel sad, Mama. It’s a whisper. I have to get close to hear.
I feel sad.
I stop walking, kneel down beside her. Why, baby?
I miss Bunny.
Me, too, baby. Me, too.
It must be something about the damp air, the swish of the creek nearby. It’s like walking into our back woods all over again. It’s like feeling her there so strongly, and knowing she’s gone at the same time.
We spend long moments on the sidewalk, my arms around her, doing my best to ease her pain. November was a month bookended by grief. First the rabbit, then two shiny birthdays, then her Nana. We are hoping for brighter futures, we are hoping for silver linings.
But it seems today, too, is a day bookended by grief. Sorrow on the sidewalk turns to a simple kind of happiness. We spend a few minutes at Starbucks, smiling at each other over juice and cheese. She always picks the same juice. She always wants the pink cake pops. There’s something nice about normal. It feels pretty good.
But then at bedtime it’s my meltdown, unraveling after a long day. My husband holds my hands. My girl wipes tears from my eyes. We stay up past our bedtimes and hold onto each other. Vow tomorrow will be a better day.
And maybe it’s like this, after all: you can turn things around if you want. Put another good day after a tough one, and suddenly you have good days standing as bookends around the bad. And that’s how you want it to be, in the end. The good times holding everything together. There’s more strength in them anyway. They look better on your shelf.