a new normal

this family’s life has just begun
the abrupt death of a child
wipes history clean
there are no more good or bad memories anymore
just memories of ‘before’

i read the news the other morning
and i think of that poor mother
lying motionless and numb on the floor
knees curled under her chin
weeping, clutching her 19-month-old’s stuffed animal or blanket
inhaling the scent like oxygen
at some point she’ll realize that smell will eventually fade
and her baby will die all over again

she will be there for awhile
maybe years, maybe decades

i do not know the world she will have to live in now
hers is different from mine
and ours are different from theirs

i do know the sun will set tonight
and the sun will rise tomorrow
but she won’t recognize it

the entire globe will tilt on its axis
the wrong way
and she’ll have to figure out how to balance on it
as it spins and spins and spins
and refuses to stop spinning
although the life that she once knew
is gone

i hope she can find a way to keep on going
to find a new normal that doesn’t kill her

and i hope that i can, too.

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