Thursday, October 28, 2010

a moment of calm

                         *Marty and Penelope, Jo Ann's husband and daughter the day after, 10pm
I got the call on Monday and left for Bozeman on Tuesday.
My heart and mind racing and repeating;

My cousin, Jo Ann, grew up on a ranch in Coalstrip, MT.  She's as tough as nails with a heart of gold.  As little girls we would ride horses on Montana plain-lands and seek adventure in abandoned homesteads.  We would spend our days casting blueprints for our lives; deciding on wedding details and how many children we'd have and talking about how they would be the best of friends...
just like us.

I stopped the car just outside her place, that's where I lost it.  It hit me like some unforeseen flood.  The reality of what I was about to experience tugged and pulled at the scar tissue of my own loss.  It had been 8 years since having lost my own daughter to SIDS.  There are certain things I keep locked deep inside and this was screwing with the lock and key.

Jo Ann and I were treasure hunting in, what was left of a homestead, next to her house, when we found bundles of letters.  The letters were between two lovers during WWII.  We ran to our moms, our translators, to learn of our latest treasure.  They shared with us what they could, then opted to preserve  our innocence with the rest.  Later that day, while sitting in that old sod home, it felt different.  This house suddenly had names and history.  Where are they?  And why has this place fallen in on its self, leaving so much behind.

I gathered myself and robotically closed the car door and entered her house, past strangers on couches and strangers in the kitchen to the room where it had all begun.  She looked up, saw me, embraced me and we wept.

Monday afternoon Jo Ann was multitasking, as we mothers do.  Her 11-month-old, Stetson, was getting his bath.  She went back and forth from child to child, washing clothes, removing outgrown clothes to make room new ones, back and forth and in and out from room to room.  All it was, was a moment and Stetson was gone.  I thought immediately of how many times that so easily mirrored my life; cleaning the room across the hall, checking dinner on the stove, etc.  This could have been me, this could have been any of us.  Why her?  Why now?

A moment like that is like a black hole in your heart, threatening to swallow you whole.  I began to think of that house that, at one time held that couple's hopes and dreams, then falling in on its self.

But if you were to think that would be her fate, then you don't know her like I do.  You haven't seen the girl who could out work any ranch hand around, the girl who could work a stud horse into submission to ride, the girl who could rope, tackle and brand a calf.  We were not designed for failure.  Though we have lost a significant potion of ourselves and can not, at times, see through the pain of our losses.  We will continue to stand up, dust ourselves off and begin moving again.
Philippians 4:13

Today we leave for Bozeman to attend the funeral that will take place tomorrow of an 11-month-old little boy.  There is nothing right about this, no one should lose a child.  It will be a good-bye of many clinched-fists.  But we'll do it together and somehow manage to find some peace at the end of ourselves.

Please keep Marty, Jo Ann and Penelope in your prayers.


Jan said...

This needs to come with a warning and a box of kleenex...

Done so well, though, Brooke. Truly captured not only your heart but a piece of what others like me were feeling. To watch my beloved daughter have to struggle again with that pain of losing a child and to have my precious niece also facing just too much to bear sometimes. Thank you for your vulnerability. mom

Leslie said...

You are in my prayers.