We were getting ready to leave. I don’t remember where to.
I went into my bedroom. I don’t remember what for.
I looked out my window and I remembered.
We had had sausage for dinner that night. I had cut his in half but it still looked too wide so I cut it in half again.
And the anger poured forth.
I cut his hot dogs. I cut his grapes. I was constantly after the kids to close the bathroom door and I checked and double checked their bath to make sure it was drained. I don’t like pacifiers, but when I read that some study had connected them to lower SIDS rates, I bought him one.
I screamed inside with every thought.
Once, I read about a couple who left their baby in an idling car to keep warm while they shoveled the drive and he died of carbon monoxide poisoning. So we never left the children in an idling car. When we bought this house, the spaces between the railing on the stairs seemed large and when we measured, we discovered his head would fit through so we replaced it. When we bought our wood stove, we thought all the guards at the store were a little flimsy so we bought railing you would normally put on your deck and bolted it to the floor.
And still the anger grew.
John even measured Mattias’ arm to make sure he couldn’t reach through and burn himself. Bouncy balls made me nervous, but somehow for every one I “misplaced” there was another party, another festival, another event where they were passed out.
I began shaking as it took over.
When John left for work, I made sure I knew where Mattias was. Whether we went out or stayed in to say goodbye, I kept a hand on him. When he learned to crawl out of the playpen he slept in, I pushed it next to his brother’s bed so he wouldn’t fall on the hardwood floor.
And then one night, I decided to let him watch a movie with his siblings downstairs because I was worried about the smoke from the stove--worried about our children breathing in the smoke–and now . . .
“Dana,” my husband called. “We need to go.”
And I was pulled back out of that place. That angry place. A place I do not wish to return to, for anger is a strange monster. Once you give it vent, it takes hold and takes over. Grief brings tears and tears bring their own release. They leave me exhausted, but I always feel better in the morning. Anger feeds itself and grows. But since then I’ve only seen it in flashes.
When I read with relief that Congresswoman Giffords had made it out of surgery . . . the same surgery Mattias didn’t survive. . . and was responsive.
When I read of a lady whose child drowned while she was playing on Facebook . . . because I never left him alone in the bath.
When I made sausage for dinner . . . and didn’t have any reason to cut it.
But it passes quickly on the heels of a deep breath and half of a prayer.