By Simply Shelby

The tears wouldn't stop falling.

And the rain drizzled, pounding and splashing against the sidewalk. My feet moved of their own volition, desperate to get as far away from the graveyard as they possibly could. My mind was numb and one, single fact penetrated the whirlwind of thoughts. He was dead. He was dead. He was dead. I let the tears fall, not bothering to wipe them away.

"My husband is dead."

I winced when I heard my whispered words reverberate in my ears. An ache settled deep in my chest, consuming my body. A sob tore out of my throat followed by several others, wracking my body. I didn't stop walking. The tears wouldn't stop falling.

My hands shook. I had lost the man who had loved me fully, completely. And I had lost the other half of myself. I had lost the man who knew my mind and body better than I did myself; the man who knew my needs and wants before I did. I had lost the man who enjoyed the inane chores of cooking and cleaning; the man who wouldn't turn out the light if he hadn't finished the book by nightfall; the man whose compassion rivaled Mother Theresa's. I had lost the man who had called me his "beloved wife" and had loved me passionately yet gently; the man who had cried when he found out he was to be a father; the man who had been not only a father, but a friend and confidant to his son.

I had lost my husband.

The ache in my chest throbbed as I neared my home. I would walk in with no husband to greet me. I had been doing it for nearly three months and it still hurt so much… so much. The house seemed so empty without the smell of his cooking or his presence in the wash room. I missed him deeply. The tears wouldn't stop falling.

I opened the door. Voices echoed around the house: my mother and my son. I hung up my jacket and slipped off my shoes. I went directly to the living room where I found the two of them, rolling Matchbox cars around the living room rug. My stomach clenched as my son bashed two cars together. A car crash had killed my husband. Amazingly, the feeling passed when my son looked up at me.

"Mommy!" he exclaimed, happily. He jumped up and wrapped his arms around my legs.

I smiled gently down at him, my heart swelling with aberrant happiness. I picked him up and rested his body against my hip. He snaked his arms around my neck and kissed me sloppily on the cheek.

"Mommy is sad again?" he observed, frowning.

I didn't answer him directly, choosing instead to look to my mother, silently thanking her for watching her grandson. She nodded and headed toward the kitchen, probably to make some tea for the two ofus to share after my little boy was tucked in. My mother had lost her husband as well, only a few years ago, and the knowledge that someone had felt what I was feeling and had found peace once again was reassuring.

I hugged my son and returned the kiss on the cheek. "Mommy was sad, Honey, but you made her feel happy again." He smiled, proud to be helping his mother feel better. But his smiled soon faded as he looked back up at me. The words he spoke went straight to my heart, words that must have been far beyond his understanding, but had been the first step toward regaining my peace.

"Daddy wants Mommy to be happy now."

As I looked down into the eyes of my son, I knew, eventually, the tears would stop.