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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

"Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim." - Vicki Harrison

Submitted: July 02, 2018

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Submitted: July 02, 2018




I had no idea where I was. The room was spinning, and everyone and everything was a blur. All I heard was yelling and just a constant, annoying beeping noise. It filled the space I was in, and it dizzied me, but there was only one thing being reiterated in my mind over and over again -“Please be okay.” Those words echoed in my mind and confused me, for I didn’t know who I was so worried about. That made the burden of trying to stay aware even heavier, and I was forced to sit down and rest because I was so mentally exhausted. Then I received the answer that I was not looking for. A man whose hair was fully grayed slowly walked up to me. His eyes were heavy and stressed, and he had a frown that carried the weight of failure and sadness. He looked at me and hesitated, then his mouth finally opened.

“I’m sorry Mr. Lewis, They… they didn’t make it.”

“What? Who didn’t make it?” I asked.

“Your wife and baby… they… they didn’t make it.”

“What? Wait...Don’t you f*cking bullsh*t me right now, tell me the truth… TELL ME THE TRUTH!” As I shouted, I felt the piercing, distasteful stares of the other people in the room, and all of them were trying to silence me.

“Let me repeat myself again Mr. Lewis, and please do not yell again.” He took a deep breath and paused. “Your wife died trying to give birth to your daughter...” He hesitated yet again. “And your daughter… she died 5 minutes after your wife died. I’m so sorry.”

My wife and child were my everything, and in that one moment - I had lost everything. The floor seemed to give way below me, and it became a black void of nothingness. My heart then fell into that void, lost for eternity. My chest grew heavy and cold... it was so unbearable. I couldn’t fully grasp the reality of what happened. My mind went blank and my body finally fell into the dark, cold void.

30 years later, after the death of my wife and only child, my world went cold, and it felt like I was lost in an endless blizzard, where the cold winds cut against my flesh. As my memory dwindles, I always come to the park where we first met, in a futile attempt to keep my heart filled with what little happiness I still have. I close my eyes, and I start to dream. I remember the tree leaves rustling aimlessly in the wind. I remember the soft, soothing fragrance of the grass and flowers as they swayed, enslaved to the power of the wind. I remember the sound of her warm, bubbly voice as she held my hand, and I remember the happiness that I felt when she told me that I was going to be a dad… but that’s all I could remember. Realizing what little memories I have about my wife, my chest began to feel heavy, just like the day I lost them. I couldn’t take it anymore… did God... curse me? What did I do to deserve this burden in my heart? Then, without my knowledge, I broke down and started sobbing. I held these tears in for too long these past 30 years, and I think that I at least deserve this right to cry. I wanted to forget. I wanted to forget everything. I wanted to release myself of this burden in my heart, but why was I unable to? Countless times, I tried to commit suicide, but each time I did, I couldn’t do it. I was unconsciously keeping myself alive, but I didn’t know why. In the midst of my sobbing, the voice of a child interrupted me.

“Mister, why are you crying? My momma told me that when people cry, they’re really sad. Why are you sad? Did someone hurt you?” The child paused, waiting for my sincere and honest response. I looked up and I found myself face-to-face with a young girl who was roughly 7-years-old. She had kind, warm eyes that seemed to twinkle like the stars at night, and they reminded me of my wife. Acknowledging that they were filled with so much worry, I accepted her sympathy and answered:

“It’s okay, you don’t have to worry about me, I was just remembering some very, very important memories.” She kept looking at me with her beautiful eyes, patiently waiting for me as if I was about to tell a story to her. So I did.

“Once upon a time, there was a man who did not know what love was. He searched aimlessly looking for someone to tell him the answer to his burning question. Then, when he was about to give up, that special someone finally came. It was like a spark. It was spontaneous, it was bright, and it was also warm and fuzzy like the sun.”

“Aww, where they happy together? They were right?”

“Yes, yes they were,” I laughed. “In fact, they were so happy that they spent almost everyday drowned in happiness and joy, and eventually they married, and they even had a baby!”

“YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!” The girl said as she bounced up and down on the bench where we sat.

“But…” I paused - I was about to cry again. “They were so happy, that he forgot the fact that she had very poor health, and when the day came to deliver the baby, it was too late. He lost the woman he loved, and the child that embodied their everlasting love. He blamed himself for his negligence and tried to forget what they had, but he couldn’t. He knew he couldn’t.” I noticed that she was about to start crying, so I decided to end the story right there.

“But… but he can’t blame himself! It wasn’t his fault!” She started to cry.

“I’m sorry, I told such a sad story. You don’t have to cry anymore. If anything, I should be the one crying.” I scanned the park, looking for her parents.

“Hey, umm…”

“Emma.” she replied.

“Emma, where is your mom?”

“My daddy said that momma went to a faraway place called ‘Heaven.’ He said that she won’t be able to come home for a while, but we can always visit her every time we go to the cemetery.” It took a little bit of time for me to process what she said, and when I finally realized it, my heart sank. I looked at her once again to see if she was about to cry, but instead her face showed no traces of grief, and her eyes still continued to twinkle endlessly.

“Daddy also said that even though she can’t come home, she is always at home in our hearts.” She then pointed at her chest. “He said that as long as she is always home in our hearts, we don’t have to feel sad, and instead we should be happy for her sake. After all, that’s she would want right?” She continued to look at me intently.

“Yeah… right.” I was still dazed at how optimistic she was. Her mother had died, and yet she was still glowing like the sun. She glowed so brightly, it was almost as if her happiness was warming this cold heart of mine. I can’t believe that I forgot how warm happiness felt, and most importantly how warm it felt to love someone unconditionally, no matter where they are. All these years wasted wandering through an endless blizzard, and it ended right here. I couldn’t hold it any longer, and I began to cry, but these tears were different - they were tears of happiness.

“Hey Mr. Lewis, are you feeling better?” She patted my back to comfort me.

“Yeah, thanks a lot Emma. I really owe you one,” I said with tears in my eyes. “Emma?” I called out to Emma but she wasn’t there.

Then I remembered. We wanted to name our daughter Emma.


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