She woke up to the sound of her son laughing in his bedroom and her heart sank right through her skin onto the floorboards she had slept on. She didn’t need to wake, the night had come and gone without unconsciousness for even a moment. In seconds she was down the stairs and pulling on her boots. He was calling her from the stairs now, “Mommy, has Santa been?” She didn’t turn around just in case she could see him, instead she embraced the frigid air without even a jacket and got in her frosted car.
She had to get to the cemetery, take him his stocking and blow him his Christmas kiss. Perhaps then he would settle into her memories for another year, content to be silent, invisible. By the time she was at the small marble tombstone she had no memory of how she’d got there or where she’d parked the car. As her eyes settled on the text her chest constricted, breathing became hard as she placed the red velvet on the icy grass.
The sadness flowed through her veins and deadened her mind. It was a poison to her spirit, dulling her killing off her other emotions until it was the only one that remained. It was as if a black mist had settled upon her and refused to shift. For the world was lost to her and she knew of nothing that would bring it back into focus. With shaking hands she blew a salty kiss…
Her dream ended abruptly, as she was shaken back into reality. Her eyes opened, her eyelashes faintly batting against her lids when she blinked. She laid on her bed, debating whether or not she should get up. Her muscles felt weak, just like her energy. She let out an exasperated sigh, groaning as she rolled off of the sepia-colored sofa she had been occupying. What time was it? How long had she been asleep? Did she have clothes on? All of these questions shot through her mind as she let out a loud yawn, ready to start the day.
In that sadness there was no past or future, just living by the moment. Every day was measured from the moment of waking into that new reality until her body could do no more, until sleep came to rest her weary mind. Each day she greeted the sun like a climber greets their rope, fingers holding on fast despite the pain. It was grief, no different from bereavement, coming in wintry waves.