Losses too Painful to Bear, It Seemed
I woke up one Monday morning, like a person on the evening news revisiting a home reconfigured by a tornado or burned to the foundation by a fire, with only the chimney standing as a reminder of the former way of life.
Gone was my cherished half hour of a leisurely breakfast with Sharon and giving her the privacy of the bedroom and bathroom to dress as well as the presence of an attentive mom with time to locate a missing belt and disentangle a stubborn shoestring.
Gone were the afternoons of picking her up from school, myself, and giving her a snack, myself, and talking about things in her little world before she went outside to play.
Gone, too, the evening hours when I’d had a relatively untired body and mind available to rough house, help with fractions, explain grammar rules, and serve as an evening playmate for my cherished only child.
Replacing all those joys, overnight, was the need to wake at five-thirty to shower and dress myself; the pain of waking Sharon up at six fifteen; the scramble to get out the door at six forty for a dash to daycare at six forty-five and my bus stop at six fifty.
The bus deposited me downtown, in one of my three work outfits, feeling country bumpkin awkward, for an eight-block walk to the office in one of the coldest winters we’d had for years.
I quickly learned that the old trench coat I’d had since high school did not keep out the chill of the morning when the wind picked up speed as it swept across empty parking lots and streets.
Working in an office in itself was a jolting change. I had worked at home, completely alone, for a year and a half and before that in a three-girl office for seven years. Worst of all, though, was the fact that I could not stop thinking about Sharon. Every day was as wrenching as the first day of first grade. I knew I was losing something I could never recapture—-the hours and minutes of her childhood. My hours and minutes with her now were, perforce, rushed. For the first few weeks, they were also often agitated, no matter how hard I tried to stay calm.