Mixes of Living and Dying…


Right now, at this very moment, a mother is seeing her baby who passed away on the 7th, people are showing up for his calling hours. She will most likely stand and be strong, but is most definitely running on shock and some weird reserve of living when you don’t want to. I am sure she put work into her hair or put make up on, it would have felt weird, almost not real. She will go home tonight and maybe sleep maybe not. She will sit numbly in a world that should not work anymore. The world should have stopped working on December 7th, how the hell did it not stop? All of these feelings and nonfeelings will circle around her brain. She will be fine and then break… every step that her family takes without her little man she will see it and hurt. Sometimes the hurt will be enough to feel like 1000’s of pounds… sometimes it will feel like a 20 pound weight that is stapled to her shoulder. There will be days that you don’t feel much sadness those days I would feel guilt for the moments of normal… then that afternoon the bus would come with no kindergartener for me… and I would sit in the chair and the 1000 pound weight would sit right on top of me. I learned then to get life done and take care of business when that weight was light. She is starting much of this right now… as I type. She is standing in a room full of people who loved her son and functioning, just for right now.

Today I walked that fine line between death and living… that line that I cross often. In the six hours that my girls are at school- I worked then went to a funeral home to get fingerprints in clay to have a sterling necklace made for a little boy’s mom and family- then I was back at school for Christmas Store. I had the opportunity to see a beautiful angel and get prints of his fingers and feet so his mama can have a tangible keepsake for the days when they want to feel something he touched, or know what his foot was shaped like.

I started thinking, about how I feel mixing into the living and death. I thought about how this little man’s mama and dad and sister were hurting. I thought about the journey they have coming, the words and experiences that will hurt. I was driving home with Lucy thinking about how the world just keeps going with or without. It took so long for my brain to really comprehend that the world spins on. Logical Erin brain knew it was not reality that it just stopped, I was not the first person to lose a child, sooo many before have as well. It just hurt to see people converse and children grow and happy people celebrating graduations, weddings and things. The hurt is less now, or maybe just different. The pain scale has changed, things that were 10’s are closer to 4’s now. Either I am more tolerant or it truly doesn’t hurt the same, I don’t know.

Wandering around on this line today was hard and easy… I worked the morning with lots of my little friends who need an extra person to hang with them for the day. I ran to a funeral home right after, driving and warming and rolling the clay I needed to use for prints. I rang the bell, walked in and was greeted by a really kind woman. She brought me to the little angel and I just looked. I have never seen such a small casket, he looked so calm and peaceful. I got a few of his fingers and one of his foot, so his mama will have a physical mark of him when she misses him. I made sure the prints were good and said goodbye to the Funeral Director and headed back to Lucy’s school. Back to chaos… my brain put up a little barrier to help me get through the afternoon. It was only after we drove home that I really thought about it. I thought about that little angel and his mom. I thought about what she was doing right at that very moment, I wished I could help her. I texted her that I had gotten her lovely’s prints and that he was a beautiful boy.

Life is strange sometimes. Life is full and then empty, fixed and then broken, happy and then sad… it is all of those things and like 100 more mixes. It is a thin walk on a line between dying and really living. Tonight while we were driving to Matilda at Proctors (early gift from me for girls) the girls got talking about manure. They told me that if they get manure on them they could die. I told them we use manure for many things, one of the best ways is in our soil, as fertilizer. Manure might have some bad bacteria in it, but it has a lot of good nutrients too. They told me we know that mom, but we were told that if we ate any we would get sick and die. I told them that it is on lots of things, veggies and clothes (if you work with it) and we clean it off the best we can, but honestly we eat some and most always we are fine. I used to pick carrots straight out of my Uncle’s garden and eat them, I am still here. I told them, as I always do, everything has risk and cost. I could have choked on the carrot… or gotten some bad bacteria from manure… we can do our best to prevent but we can’t LIVE (really live) worrying about manure, choking, car accidents, sink holes, tornadoes, flood or ice storms (ps I was made for these I will outlive all the skinny people). We have to choose to LIVE, like really live. Anyway, that was a long one about that life and dying in our car.

Life is terminal, where the rollercoaster stops we don’t know. We, well in my car at least, will continue to walk this line into and out of death, through and around life… knowing the feelings of a mom when her lovely just left, knowing the heavy that this death brings to our lives and laps… also knowing the joy in living and spinning right along with the world. As the world keeps going, eventually we join back in. I want to tell that mama she will join the world again- the world that is  always spinning never stopping. It sure is different than the blissfulness of ignorance, before Madeline was gone, but it is a step into making it through all of this. I want to tell her I will remember her lovely and bring him along.


2 thoughts on “Mixes of Living and Dying…

  1. Thank you Erin. Thank you for reaching out to me. Thank you for helping us create such a treasured keepsake of Maks. Beautifully written from one Mama who suffered such a loss to another.


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