You have to schedule your tears…late at night when no one can hear you scream into your pillow…Except someone does hear you and comes running into your room asking if you are okay. He is so young, and he isn’t your shoulder to cry on. So you pick him up, reassure him all the while…and carry him to his bed and tuck him back in, choking on your sobs to prevent him from hearing you when you kiss him on the forehead. You’re practically whimpering trying to not scare him with your cries. He rolls over and falls immediately back to sleep. And then you shut all of the doors and hope to god he doesn’t wake back up because all you want to do is scream and cry like a mad woman. You have this insane urge to cry harder than you’ve cried in years…desperate wracking sobs that strain your vocal cords, primal moans of the pain that fills your heart. You need this, you need to be wild, you can’t be nurturing right now or you’ll break in two. So you lay back down with your face in the pillow and start back up with intense tears and moans and screams…all it takes is the memory of a single moment when you thought your heart had expanded, getting gently blown up like a painted balloon. There were cracks, of course there are always cracks, but there had been proof for a minor second that your heart had the capacity to grow again…all it took to start your screams through clinched teeth was remembering when you thought you could give yourself hope…and the realization that hope was a sham…just another disappointment to add to the shelf. Your fists are clinched as wave after wave of memory brings fresh pain that causes you to pitch and roll in bed like a ship that is simultaneously on fire and sinking into the sea. You’re on your knees, then your side…but your cries are too loud and he might wake up so you push your face back into the pillow that is sopping wet with snot and tears…your hair is matted and pressed every which way with the rolls. But then you can’t breathe with the pillowcase all hot and wet. You grasp at the pillow and then your heart, scrapping your knuckles down to your stomach and then shoving your hands between your knees as you find your way into the fetal position and sob. Every muscle in your body seizes and twitches…The door to the room of grief has been shattered, and a tornado has torn through, and every bad thing and sad thing and wrong thing converges on you in the span of five minutes? 45? Three hours? Ten minutes? There is only chaos and destruction. Your throat is bleeding from the screams and the blood makes your stomach hurt. Your lips are so puffy that you can see them without looking down. Your sinuses are swollen and blood vessels in your eyes have burst. As your body shakes to exhaustion, you hear your door open again…and there’s a pitter-patter of little feet coming towards you. Mama? Yes, baby. You pick him up and put him next to you in bed, tucking him in and kissing him. He grabs your hand and squeezes. I love you, Mama…did I help you stop crying? Oh baby, I love you too. And yes, you helped.
And the tears start again…but this time they come as soft tears, not of a heart breaking, primal and loud, but of quiet sadness that only comes when regretful chaos lays next to naive innocence.