Before my wedding, I described the town where I grew up to several friends who’d be visiting it for the first time and joked that I was related to half of the town. This isn’t quite true. I’m probably only related to a third of the town. Suffice it to say, then, that it’s a small town and my family is well known within it. I wouldn’t be surprised if my parents had received more condolence cards after Teddy’s death than N and I have.
Mom tells me about some of the cards as they trickle in, and one in particular, from an older couple, speaks to me right now. The couple who sent the card is well known in my home town, too. The woman has the reputation (probably easier to get in a small town than anywhere else) of being a bit odd, a bit off, a bit difficult. Her husband is generally admired (and pitied, though people don’t say this out loud and may not even think it in such direct terms) for being patient with his wife, for standing by her.
In their card to my parents, the woman of this couple wrote very simply that they had lost their first child, their first son, when he was born. She then wrote, “It hurts.”
It hurts. I can’t get past the present tense of it, the starkness of it, the perfection of this tiny sentence. Why is it that this simple acknowledgment is more comforting to me than talk about angels or about how our Teddy changed lives in his short time with us? Why is it that “it hurts” speaks so eloquently to my own grief?