cw: discussions of death
"That tree is blooming, it's a sign of Spring." She said, pointing a finger at the cherry blossoms bursting with life.
A little boy sat next to her, his legs crossed and his head leaning on her shoulder. "Mommy, what does Spring mean?"
"Spring is a season of life and everything comes out and lives after the mean Winter chased her out." She poked him in the shoulder.
"Why would Winter do that?" The little boy asked. "Why would Winter be so mean?"
"Well, my darling, Winter was jealous of the other seasons because he felt excluded." She smiled, carding her hand through her son's hair.
"Yeah, that means left out. So Winter felt excluded and decided to chase Spring out of her playground because he wanted to play too." She stared her little boy's eyelashes and his nose, taking him in. "But Spring, Summer, and Autumn decided to get him back by tickling him!" She wiggled her fingers on his stomach and laughter burst from him
"Mommy, stop, that tickles, stop!" He cried.
"The tickle monster!" She yelled, raising her arms up like a bear and he squirmed out of her grip.
"You can't catch me, Mommy!" He taunted as he ran in circles around the blanket.
"Oh yes, I can, my little monster!" She chased him and then in one fell swoop, she swept him up into her arms, planting kisses all over his body.
"Mommy, stop it!" He wriggled in her grasp, but she held on to him.
"Never!" She grinned at him, but set him onto the blanket.
"Can you tell me more about Winter and Spring, Mommy?" He asked, laying on his back, staring up at the clouds
"Of course, darling.”
“Sis?” She looked up and her brother stood in the doorway. The room was dark and the blinds were pulled down. “Are you okay?”
She distantly looked at him, “What?”
“I asked if you were okay.” Her brother said again.
A sharp laugh came from her. “How could I be okay?” Her shoulders shook as tears made tracks down her face. “How could I ever be okay?”
“I’m just asking if you needed help or something,” He said, wrapping his arm around her, but she pushed it away from her.
“Please leave, I can’t-I can’t-I can’t do this right now. I don’t want to do this right now. I don’t want to talk about my feelings, I want my baby back.” She whispered, her voice choking her the words.
“Are you sure?” He asked, he didn’t want to leave her alone, but he also wanted to respect her wishes.
“You asked me what I want, and please, I swear, just leave me be.” More tears welled in her eyes. “I’m fine, I’ll be fine, I just need time. Isn’t that what they say? Eventually time will wash over the wounds and make them disappear?”
“I don’t think--” Her brother started, but she pushed him off the bed.
“You asked me what I wanted, and I said I wanted you to leave, so please, just leave. I swear to god, please, I need to be alone.”
“Okay,” Her brother said quietly. “I’ll go, but know, I’m just a call away. Don’t hesitate to talk to me, okay?” She nodded mutely, and finally he left.
She pulled out her phone after he was gone and dialed a number. “You have reached Damien Walker, um, if you’re calling because of work, please leave a message, and Mom, if you’re calling, I love you and I promise I’ll be home soon.” A robotic female voice came afterward, and she ended the call. She knew this wasn’t healthy, and this wasn’t a good coping mechanism, but she wanted to hear her son’s voice again.
She didn’t know what she had been thinking, letting him go out in the ice and snow to pick up food. She could have waited, but he had volunteered and she let him go.
It was her fault that he was dead. That she would never see him again. Never hear him come home again. Nothing. And she could have prevented it, she could have stopped him, but she didn’t and now he was dead because of her.
“I’m a bad mother.” She whispered into the empty room. “I’m a bad mother and now he’s dead.” She whispered again and again.
“Why do I still have to be a parent? Now I’m a parent to a dead child, I can’t do this. I still have to be a parent to a child I never get to see again.” She sobbed, throwing a nearby pillow against the wall. “Why god, please? Give me my son back.” She slammed the pillow into the wall over and over, tears running down her face, mixing with snot. She didn’t care, her baby was gone and there was nothing she could do about it.
The church was silent as she walked up to the altar. Here and there were sniffles, but no one spoke.
A single piece of paper was in her hands and her fingers trembled as she opened it. “Last week, my child died in a car accident. He was driving in the snow and another driver hit him, not seeing and his car flipped and he--” She choked on the word. “Died on impact. I didn’t know, until the police called me two hours later, telling me my one and only son was dead.” She closed her eyes and silent tears slipped down her cheeks.
“He was the love of my life, my sunshine. He was the Spring to my Winter, and vice versa. He was so bright and cheerful, and beloved by everyone he met. If everyone in here is a sign of that.” A weak chuckle rose in her throat, but she stuffed it down. “I’m going to miss him so much. I’m going to miss worrying about when he’s coming home, I’m going to miss talking to him, I’m going to miss everything about him. He loved helping people. He volunteered at the hospital to make kids smile, and he was planning on becoming a nurse or a job that could help people. Just by being here, it means a lot because that means he touched your lives. Thank you.” She stepped down from the podium and retook her seat next to her brother. She pulled tissues out of her bag and wiped her eyes harshly.
More people came up and said things, but felt like she was drowning in a sea of tears. Her brother rubbed his hand on her back, she leaned into him.
She sank into her seat heavily at the restaurant. This was her son’s favorite restaurant and this was a celebration of his life.
“Are you sure you can handle this?” Her brother was once again by her side.
“Yeah, there’s so many people celebrating him, how can I not?” She whispered, swiping a hand across her face one last time. She raised her glass and tapped her fork against it.
“To my son, Damien Walker. A loved one, a boyfriend, a friend, and a son,” A small smile crept over her face.
“To Damien.” The room echoed.
The smile grew wider on her face. It was a new day, and there was something beautiful about it.