“I miss Tias, mommy,” my three year old tells me.
“Me, too,” I answer.
She’s looking in her lap. Or at the floor. Or in a book. Anywhere, really. So long as the house is quiet, this is where her conversation is likely to turn.
“What do you remember about little Tias?” I ask.
“The dresser fell down on him. I wish that didn’t happen.”
“Me. too, sweetie. Me, too.”
I want to draw her thoughts away from that night. From that moment.
“You and Tias were good friends, weren’t you? You liked to play with your farm set with him.”
“The dresser was big. It fell down on his head.”
I don’t want to have this conversation yet again. It is too hard. It hurts too much. Fighting back tears, I take a deep breath.
“Do you remember taking turns riding on Scrambler?” I ask.
She looks at her ankle where the knob-shaped bruise had been. It’s gone now, but she touches it and continues.
“There was blood, mommy. In his nose and in his eyes.”
“I know, sweetheart,” I sigh and hold her close. “It was a bad, bad accident.”
All of her memories seem trapped under that dresser. I want to help pull them out, to rescue the giggling and the wrestling and the snuggling from that horrible memory. But I never can.
“I wish that didn’t happen, mommy.”
“Me, too,” I answer. “Me, too.”
Tears begin to sting my eyes while I hold her. We miss Tias. We wish that didn’t happen. Together. For just a little bit.
And then she resumes her play.