The Window

She sat there by the window, still and pale with tears rippling down her soft skin, dripping onto her pocketed top. No sound came from her parted lips nor movement stirred aside from her falling tears. I, there on the couch, sat watching. Round faced and young, feet dangling, wondering if the tears ever stopped and where they started, but I knew why they were there. We all knew, and there was nothing that could make the sadness go away. Sadness replaced a person, and so, Mama cried.
I can’t be sure how long she stayed like that. Seemed like hours, but I was young, only six, and minutes at that age can seem like hours so maybe just for a bit, but for me, the time etched memory deep where it lingers, still, almost a half-century past.
I wondered how much she could see through the curtain sheers that hung between her and the window pane and the falling of the tears that no doubt dimmed her sight as well. She didn’t seem to be seeing, though eyes open, the stare was cloaked in sorrow that seemed to notice nothing else.
Her words barely broke the silence. I heard them though, the words clearly uttered, “I shouldn’t have had any children.” The knowing dawned, “I’m one of those children that shouldn’t be. I wonder what I’ve done wrong.” Isn’t it always the question the child asks? It echoes a haunting refrain, “What did I do wrong.”
Time, as it does, moved us through that day and into others. Some were similar, but that one stands out. I hated that I had heard it. I hated how it felt. I hated worse that she was hurt and I could not make it stop.
I did not know then that grief has a language of its own. It often speaks words it does not mean as there are no words for the depths of sudden sorrow, unanswered questions, and the hole left by one so precious, so dear.
It wasn’t until many years later, when I was the Mama in the chair, still and silent, spilling my own grief-laden tears that I understood it never had been about me, nor had it been that we were unwanted. It was the opposite. It was that the best of life, with all its joy and richness, beauty and light, was what she most wanted for us. Because she was weighted with the burden that would not lift, she wished for us a freedom from her sorrows in the only way her weary mind could fathom. Love…the most often misunderstood of all human gifts. If only our language could carry the truer message of the heart, brokenness would lessen and peace would be easier found.

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