Welcome to #iPPP! Sarah at The Sunday Spill and I want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favorite phone photos of the week. All you need is a blog post containing at least one photo from any phone camera. Link up below!

This is the piece that I read for Listen To Your Mother this past weekend. It originally appeared at Studio30 Plus last fall, but it was much shorter. 


“The Wondering”

I was making dinner the other night, and my oldest son (who’s almost seven) was sitting on the floor on the other side of the island, reading a book (probably something about pirates, or Halloween).

Without looking up, he turned his attention to me.

“Mama, can you tell me again how my dad died?”

I’ve told him and his five year old sister about their dad many times in the last couple of years. Not going into too much detail, but showing pictures and making sure that they know who he was and what he was like.

“Sure, bud.” I say as I cut up the cauliflower for roasting.

“He was driving home one night when a lady that should not have been driving hit his car and killed him.”

I’ve never gone into many more details than that, unless one of my two oldest asks me a specific question.

“Were you wondering where he was?”

OOF. The knife stopped mid-air as I sucked in my breath and felt my heart start to race.

I didn’t want to say, as I tried to catch my breath, that yes, I was wondering where he was. I didn’t say that I called his cell phone 15 times in the span of an hour because I knew he should have been out of his class by then, one of the few classes left in his college career. That I, his barely pregnant wife (so early in my first trimester that we were the only two that knew, save for our obstetrician), was driving home from my own class, on my way to pick up my then-one-year-old son. That I made a couple of extra calls to my parents, who were babysitting, to find out if they had heard from my husband. That I must have left a dozen messages on his phone and that it was possible that the paramedics, who were probably cutting him out of the car at that very moment, heard the phone ring.

And ring, and ring.

I didn’t tell him that they must have left the phone in the car as they loaded my husband, his father, into an ambulance and took him to the nearest hospital, only to load him back into the helicopter because his injuries were too severe and he was losing too much blood. I didn’t tell him that it wasn’t until I got home and saw the blinking light on the answering machine on that winter night nearly six years ago, that I began to realize that something was very, very wrong, or that I searched for words when the 911 operator told me that my husband had been in an accident and she would try to find out exactly where he was, but that inside I was losing control and my mind was racing in a thousand different directions.

Or that I could barely speak as I called my mom to tell her that something had happened, and no, I didn’t really know what, but they’re telling me that his legs are crushed and he’s in the hospital and can you please come over right away?

No, I didn’t say that the other night to my nearly-seven year old son when he asked me the innocent question that literally took my breath away.

“Yeah, buddy. I tried to call him and didn’t know where he was until I talked to the police.”

I took a long, deep breath and continued to chop, knowing that as they get older, the questions would only get harder to answer. And wishing there was a manual for this sort of thing.

But there isn’t, so I find myself writing my own. Not knowing how to do it, or what to say, just like I didn’t when I listened to that answering machine message, and like I didn’t when I got to the hospital with my mom late that night and waited outside of the emergency room for hours before hearing any news, then practically living in the surgical ICU for four long days before he was declared dead. Just like I didn’t when I delivered our daughter seven months later surrounded by friends and family and intentionally festive luau decorations but without him, my newborn’s daddy. But I did it, I somehow did it. And I’ll somehow do this: answer their questions. Because while my children lost their father, they didn’t lose me. And I am their mother. While I watch them grow, help them learn, and try my best to make them understand, they are helping me write the chapters of the manual that I so desperately wish I had.

Photo courtesy of Karen Ledford Photography

Photo courtesy of Karen Ledford Photography


<div align="center"><a href="http://www.gfunkified.com" title="GFunkified"><img src="http://mamamash.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/ippp-polaroid-125-x-125.jpg" alt="GFunkified" style="border:none;" /></a></div>