the week my sister in law D killed herself, she left me a voice message. i intended to call her back. it was a busy november week and returning the phone call kept being pushed aside by to much doing and the almost ceaseless distraction of two young children and a me that has to push past me to reach out.
it was thanksgiving. we waited in the hospital with three children, breathing in air smoky with confusion. surprise. anger. her now-mine youngest C, lay on chairs in the waiting room. having been in to see his mum, the sight of her swollen body foreign and disconnecting, he retreated to sleep and i was thankful. K, the center one’s silence. i did not know what words to use to give her peace. T, the oldest. the one whose heart had lived closest to mine so far. she understood the most, her hurt bled out in words and we listened.
standing in the room after goodbyes were said i held her hand and made promises i still try to keep. when life was no longer there, M and i left his parents to say the kind of goodbye parents don’t know how to say.
but in the cold room and between insistent sounds of pumps and tubes and monitors, my heart had whispered an accusing
if only i had returned that call.
if only there had been face to face before too late broke down our doors.
surely my heart would have known. that the burdens and hurdles and struggles seemed insurmountable to her. that who she wanted to be and who she was had grown so far apart from each other she wanted only to be free of the divide.
that phone call. that week. those children whose lives had just had been torn, could i have made different? would i have seen where she was deciding to go? would there have been a moment when something i said led to detour?
i held my wondering close and then handed it to M because if only is sharp edged and heavy and he is my knight in shining armor always. he handed back the truth i knew but needed wrapped around me so that i could forgive myself.
truth. if that moment. that turning back word, that love enough to live for, that stopping of self-destruct had been mine to give. it would have been given to me by the maker of moments. the one who holds it all in his hands.
my forgetfulness and short-sightedness and maybe even selfishness are not enough to stop my creator from moving me where he will, when he will.
to carry if only scribbled on a scrap of paper in my pocket,
leaves no room for that truth.that all is his and he is all.
mobile handmade by T.W.