Thursday, October 22, 2009

October 22, 2009 The 95th Day

The 95th Day
By Kim Hamer 

The 95th day after my husband died, my daughter walks into our bathroom where I am leaning, hunched over the sink trying to remember what comes after I wash my face. Moisturizer or that stingy stuff? 

My daughter’s eyes are ringed in red, her lids barely able to contain the pools of water.

"What are you doing up?" I say with barely tempered frustration. I have spent my energy today opening up more condolence cards and walking from room to room trying to remember what I keep forgetting, my own private circle of birds, fluttering around my head like the ones in cartoons. I have nothing left to give her.

I turn to her, not in softness but in a “this had better be quick” stance.

"I just realized…..sob…. Daddy's not gon….sob….na be here for my sob 10th bir…..sob…..thday." Her tears drop from eyes, as if their lives depended on them reaching the linoleum. "It's an important birthday." She looks up at me as if I do not know. "I'm turning double digits."

I watch her. I don't gather her to me. I don't change the subject or ask her to think about "happier times with Daddy." I hold myself still, giving her the space to grieve, giving me just one more moment in the anger.

What I want to do is to knock her aside and take on the grief. I want to attack it, rip it, and shove it into my mouth, tearing at it with my teeth as pieces drip from my chin. I want to ingest it. 

I want to swear and yell, “"Don't you dare touch her! You have no right to touch her with your loss and desolation and pain. She's nine!, she’s only 9!” I want to flail and punch and scream. I want to make the grief hurt back.

Instead I stare at my daughter as I stand with her in the inky, sticky, black grief and I watch her. I acknowledge her loss—which means I have to acknowledge my own, damn it. And I witness how the grief makes her shrink, how it bends her 98-pound body, making it look like it might snap. 

Finally, she swipes at her eyes, staring at the bathtub and says. "The kids in my group say it will get easier with time."

It is then that I embrace her. And from me pours the deep wonder at this person that Art and I have created and her strength. I think, I’m the lucky one. Hopefully, (cause clearly nothing is guaranteed anymore) I will get to see what kind of remarkable woman she will become.  I let out a small laugh of gratitude.


  1. Kim, knowing you and Pallas, I can completely envision this moment. I'm so impressed with you mother-wisdom in handling this delicate situation. You once said that it was so important to you that your friends let you cry and grieve... be a witness to it, stand quietly while you go through what is necessary. You just had the opportunity to walk your talk (as you always do). I wish I could be hugging you right now. Love and courage, my friend. Carrie

  2. Beautiful writing, Kim. I was there with you and Pallas, at least as much as is possible, thanks to your expression.

  3. This is so beautiful! What a wonderful mother you are. Thank you for your recent comment on Peachhead that made your point with such eloquence and grace. I'm glad it led me to your blog!