1999

She wedged the box against the wall as she pried open the door. The stairs were steep and she couldn’t see past the cardboard. But she made it to the office and she set down her burden and she told her story.

14 years ago, she gave birth to quadruplets. 4 screaming armfuls of wrinkly red skin. It was harder than she had imagined it could be. But there they were in the world, hers. And as she soothed them on the way home, she knew it was worth it.

That was the end of the part that makes sense.

They died. All 4 of them. I don’t know how- 14 years was not enough to swallow the pain and let her be candid with strangers. 14 years since her heart was drawn and quartered.

She reached down and opened the box. She let us look, but kept her eyes away. Baby clothes, never worn. Terry cloth onesies. Socks still in the package. Spoons. Matching blankets. For 14 years she saved what she had bought for her babies. But today she gave it to us. I volunteer at a pregnancy centre where we keep a room full of clothes and helpful tools for new mothers. And today we received a precious gift, 14 years in the making. A box of what could have been.

I sorted the items, hanging matching sleepers side by side, stacking identical pairs of booties together. At the bottom of the box I found a cassette tape of lullabies. Its cardboard sleeve had never been chewed by drooling mouths or ripped by chubby hands. Never played, it had waited at the bottom of a cardboard box for 14 years. I set it on the director’s desk and my heart asked why.

Why do those who desperately want their children live in grief for 14 years while there are people in the gallery of the Texas legislature shouting for the right to kill?

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3 responses

  1. heart wrenching.

    June 27, 2013 at 8:45 am

  2. Shari

    My question, exactly.

    June 27, 2013 at 5:23 pm

  3. Not fair.

    August 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm

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