A Child's Perspective
Imprinted - the stamp of death
Walking through the crowd
I hear soft voices above me as I roam through our living room, dining room, kitchen, and den. I do not understand what anybody is saying or why so many people are in my home. Hands surround me - all sizes and some scary. I love my parents and sisters holding me, but I cannot find them. I am alone - afraid.
Glancing over to my Dad's chair, I wonder who is this strange man lounging there. Usually, in the evenings, Dad and I cuddle there. I make a wish to be with him now - it does not come true. The sofa is filled with guests too. Don't they know this is where my mother and I play - our private world? Nobody cares: they eat, drink, and talk.
People and food are everywhere. I crawl underneath the dining table with my coloring book, crayons, and cookies. I want to escape - to be invisible. I crouch in front of my mother's chair: I see legs and shoes approach - then disappear into the crowd. Somebody asks, where is Debby Kay? Several respond - with the Silversteins. I am not to be here - remaining silent - I color.
I see my father in the crowd of legs and hands. I need him to hug me, but he is praying. Alone under the table, I listen to the familiar sounds - confused.
Everybody is standing - the sofa is empty. I hope my mother comes to rest. I will lie next to her as she tickles my tummy. We always have fun making up fairy tales and giggling. Sometimes I stand close, and her arms wrap around my legs. We look out the picture window, and I know she watches me as I climb the trees and ride my bike. She cannot see me run in the woods and play with the animals - this makes me sad.
Finally, my sisters return. They do not see me and go directly to their bedrooms. I sneak into Natalie's room - Carolyn and Marilyn are there. We sit together on her bed, and I tell them I cannot find our mother. I ask where she is - silence. They stare at me, realizing I have been here all day and not with the Silversteins. Natalie leaves and returns with Dad.
He takes me in his arms and slowly walks to our chair. I hold on tightly. The Rabbi joins us. I ask why so many people are sad. I tell them nobody will let me know where my mother is. Dad squeezes me lovingly and kisses the tip of my nose - just like my mother does - I cry.
Dad tucks me into bed. Tired and confused, I fall asleep and dream.
I am alone driving my mother's black car through a field of bright-yellow poppies. The car suddenly stops. I get out and walk. I never find where I must go. I am lost.
The next morning:
Dad makes me my favorite breakfast - animal pancakes: mostly rabbits and elephants - yummy! I eat slowly, preferring to stay home, but Dad drives me to school. He even walks me into the classroom. As I enter the room, the teacher hugs me. Why?
Emes: The Truth Garbled
I do not remember who, how, or when somebody explains the situation. My new dress has motherless stamped on the back - everybody knows my secret.
I return from school, and a strange woman opens the door - Woodsie - she is our nanny. I do not want to speak to her. Going directly to my room, I realize it is no longer mine. Woodsie took it. Where will I sleep? I leave the house and climb the big tree hoping my mother will watch - I cry.
I will never see my mother again. Nothing will be the same. I continue to search and dream, but my soul is lost - stamped with death: alone and invisible. The big rock deep in the woods is now my island - my safe place to play and create stories with my mother - we continue to giggle.
Comments on this post (4)
This is very poignant. I cannot imagine how a young mind can process such a devastating event such as this. Difficult enough when your grown up.
Life changing …
— Carolyn Davies
This surely gives me pause. With the pandemic raging, I think about losing loved ones more than I ever did.
It is a bittersweet, tender memory. Thank you for sharing this story of love and loss.
— Jamie Thornton
Deb, This certainly made me cry!
I can’t stop crying…beautifully explained.