Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yesterday, I went to a pool birthday party with Liam. In the locker room, I overheard one of the moms say her son was going to turn five next month. My first thought was to wonder if he shared Charlotte's birthday. When the child rounded the corner, I saw him differently than I had earlier: instead of a little dark haired boy, I saw a body that had been growing for almost five years, bright, glistening eyes, and a beating heart. I wondered how it had happened, how he had lived, and she had died.
Walking out to the car, his mother caught up to me. "Will Liam be going to school next year?" she asked. I told her no, he had just turned four.
"Evan's leaving me next year," she said. "Going off to kindergarten, much to his mother's chagrin."
My eyes filled a little, thinking of my little girl who would never get on a school bus, of that class next year that won't even know she is missing. I didn't say anything to answer her, but simply kept walking, my eyes on the pavement.
It's hard when people don't know.


Jen said...

Today I was around a whole group of children. Everyone was frolicking with great intensity and Lily was enchanted, and it was a lovely time. And the thought came to me, suddenly, that Charlotte would never frolic with them, that I myself would never frolic with her, and I was overcome by a giant lump in my throat, feeling so upset that she was denied life, feeling like everyone now alive was denied the privilege of knowing her. Carol, I'm glad you are here to speak of Charlotte, because otherwise how would I ever be able to miss her?

Sara said...

I was just going to bed, and then this posting came up and made me cry.

Your mention of Charlotte as the little girl who would never get on the school bus made me think of Henry. During his golden, post-surgery period in September, we went out to watch our neighbor get on the school bus for the first time. She was scared, but an older girl she knew came and met her at the door and sat with her. The next day she told me should would do the same thing for Henry so that he wouldn't be scared. I told Henry this story often when he was in the hospital. (Our same little friend was going to teach him where he step and what he could eat in the garden and how to feed a lamb a bottle.) The things they will not do.

It's so hard for me to imagine people not knowing about Henry, about somebody so important in my life. And Charlotte seems so present, it is hard to think of people not knowing, but I was thinking about you the other day, thinking about things we don't know about other people, and wondering how many people look at you and your two adorable children and think what a happy, lucky, perfect family, having no idea who is missing for you.


Aimee said...

Sara has hit upon such a big fear of mine--with two beautiful, living children and a full schedule with them, do people even know one is missing? Of course not. We look just like any other family in the world. But we aren't, are we.... How will they could they know? Sometimes I don't even want them to know. But sometimes I'm just so sad that they don't. Why is it so complicated?

lookingforme said...

Hi Carol,
You have 3 beautiful children, thankyou for sharing your story, you write so beautifully and i sit here with tears in my eyes after reading of your loss and grief and joy and i don't know how you stood it, i don't know how you let Charlotte go. I don't know you at all and yet your story has touched my soul. I have 3 beautiful daughters who i don't appreciate as i should. I love them so much that it aches and yet i get caught up in the little things. The so called stresses and messes of everyday life...i would freak if the freezer thing had happened!! I have freaked over less. It is 2am and i should have been in bed hours youngest still calls for me at ungodly hours!! I just wanted to say hello and let you know that your story touched someone in the early hours of the morning halfway across the world from where you are living your life! Happy 6th Birthday to your angel Charlotte....