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Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Stroller as a Shield

Originally uploaded by ThroopCat
My youngest son is growing. He is getting to big for his little socks. I soon will box them up for charity. He is growing too tall for his pants and his long sleeves are now mid-length. My little Isaac will turn four in a few days, and he can no longer wear his 3-T clothes. He can no longer wear the clothes his father dressed him in; and so grief ebbs and flows.

The connections to that time and this time are falling apart. They swirl like leaves among the living. I push Isaac, like the babe he was, down the avenue. I have a stroller for a shield.

When Fred was sick, I would drop the children off at school and then rush to the hospital. I would still have the stroller with me. I would push it bravely down the hall of oncology. I would feel it protect me. It would tell the world, "See, we are young. We have a little one in a stroller. Daddy can't be dying." It would sit empty, glaring at the Doctor in the room; its message clear: "Are you doing all you can for this young Father?"

As Fred's world grew smaller, and he could not stand nor walk; he just had room for Isaac. Isaac could lay beside him and cuddle. Isaac could still play silly finger games with Daddy. As Fred grew drawn and gaunt, Isaac would still play and run beside his bed. Poor ten year old Freddie would be so scared and sad he could barely look at Daddy. Isaac would be there; playing Brio Trains next to a catheter bag.

Isaac sometimes asks if Daddy is still dead. I say, "Yes, Isaac he is." Isaac sometimes plays the finger games with me. I am not as good at it, but I try. I try to keep the memory crisp. And I cry. I cry about little socks and strollers. I cry for a time that is lost and can never be regained.


  1. I was thinking of you after the recent set backs with the health care reform. It is fighters like you, that remnid me that in the end things will become better.

  2. made me think real hard about change, and how we are scared of it, and what it means to our memory. that was beautiful, regina.