"Daddy? How do you spell 'mom'?"
"M - O - M."
"Daddy? How do you spell 'died'?"
Heavy sigh. I swallow hard, "D - I - E - D."
And so began our after-dinner family activity. Homework for the eight-year-old and some quiet activity like reading or drawing for my five-year-old. Tonight he decided to write a message and transports us to another time.
Mom died on April 29 I did not no that and then we ate. A piece of pizza and then we watched tv.
Tears welling in my eyes, I gently query my five-year-old. "Really, we ate pizza?" I had no recollection.
"Yeah, Daddy. We ate pizza after we stopped crying."
I guess that's true. I was being eaten whole by grief and don't remember the moments after my boys came bounding home and I had to tell them the apocalyptic news that mom died. I don't think I ate, or drank, for a couple days until friends forced food on me. I lost 12 pounds in two weeks. My boys logged hour upon hour of television and wii time. We slept together every night. Sort of slept.
My memory of those early hours following that sudden and inexplicable moment are fragmented like some horrible swirling nightmare from a childhood fever I now, as an adult, vaguely remember. And it's a five-year-old that conjures it forward from his memory as he learns to spell words.