1988, A Year of Death and Birth

1987, Eva’s first year of life came and went fast, filled with expected and unexpected events, such as the voice from the past of my ex-husband. However, all in all, things seem to have calmed down and were settled by the end of 1987, when around Christmas time, Kevin’s mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. A life-long of smoking was almost a guarantee for such a diagnosis, however, as most smokers, she didn’t believe it will happen to her. But it did, and after a very painful and tumultuous few weeks, she died on January 14.  It was a sad time, sad and confusing. Eva will probably not remember her only grandmother, and her passing made me think of how fragile and lonely we were in this world…It made me wish for another baby…

As if to re-re confirm my thoughts about how unpredictable life was, one night I had one of the strangest dreams I ever had.  I felt darkness pressed on my chest and I couldn’t breath.  I opened my eyes wide and fixed them on a bright object in my palms. It burned my palms, and I dropped it to the ground quickly. What was it? A ball? A candle? It happened too fast, in my dream. All I remembered was the feel of it, the burn, the pain. But where did it go? I touched the ground, and it was dark. Dark and cool and quiet. My heart raced. I lifted my eyes and saw the light lifting to the Skies, still bright, but smaller and smaller, until it disappeared…

I woke up at the sharp ring of the telephone. Strangely, my hands were still hurting, but I wasn’t dreaming anymore. I was awake! On the phone, was my girlfriend.  Her voice was broken by sobs and tears. She told me her husband killed himself.  I looked at my still burning hands…in disbelief!

We hang up. My heart was numb but my hands continued to hurt, until I let cool water run on them and cool of the pain. I reached to embrace my baby and seeked comfort in her innocence. I felt like she and I were alone, on an island…

In the mist of the confusion and my questionings about the frailty of our lives, in April, I realized I was pregnant again. The dream of having two children, was about to manifest. Kevin took the news with a smile, and said “I knew when it happened, as I knew when it happened with Eva. I felt when they were conceived.”  Our baby was due in December, a child of Christmas. We named her Natalie.

After his mother’s death, Kevin was making efforts to be the same, but he wasn’t!  He was moodier and moodier and seemed to keep a part of him hidden somewhere where I didn’t have access.  It wasn’t the easiest of times, a mixture of pain and hope that perhaps our new baby will bring him back into his own family and he would stop mourning his mother’s death.

I was trying to help my husband, but perhaps I didn’t know how, perhaps I didn’t know or I didn’t understand the entire picture of his internal life… although I was doing my best.

One morning, in an effort to show my love for him, I prepared a beautiful portable lunch-tray  for him to take to work. Kevin always spent money eating out for lunch. I felt eating food brought from home, as most people do, will save us some money and I thought he would appreciate the work and thoughts I put into preparing the lunch. I even decorated the tray with a snow bell, symbol of the upcoming Spring season of rejuvenation, after a long, sad winter…

Kevin was still sipping his morning coffee and reading the newspaper in the living room, when I appeared in the door way, between our dining room and the living room, holding Eva on one hip and the lunch-tray in my right hand. I handed it to him smiling, and expected him to be happy and thank  me… but nothing like what I expected happened!

He looked at me perplexed. For a while, there was silence, but suddenly, he threw his coffee cup at me, and it barely missed my head, it broke instead the glass of the French doors behind me and Eva.

“Don’t you ever do this again!” he said, “I can afford eating out!” and  he walked out and slammed the door behind him.

Eva started to cry. The baby inside of me was kicking hard, as I cleaned the broken glass… .

I kissed Eva and caressed her silky hair. It was time to watch “Every Day is Mother’s Day”… but was it?

I wasn’t sure anymore.  What happened to the calm, well-mannered man I fell in love with? He would have never tried to hurt us… who was this new person who threw a cup of coffee at us? Why? What happened? What did I trigger in him by offering the lunch-tray? His status… that he could afford to eat out.. Was this the beginning of a new stage in our life?

I chased the thought away!

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