Noise, and Silence

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My son is noisy to the point of hurting my ears. Not at school or in public places, there he is rather shy. I mean at home. There is much guttural screaming for the sake of screaming. There are a range of funny voices and accents and bizarre fits of laughter. Sometimes he falls into series of moans which suggest he may be mimicking old dramatic scenes he has overheard. Often I wonder if he is slowly opening a type of cap, a steam valve, in order to alleviate his emotions. If so this is part of his beautiful wisdom.
Anyone who lives with or spends time with small children knows about the noise. Annoying as it can be, children fill your life with noise and unfiltered emotion. When you want to turn the world off and escape, this will annoy you. You will also feel jealous because you are less in touch with yourself and your true nature than your children are. You should. They are our teachers and the keepers of the wisdom we want.
Our house is weeping with loss. We replaced the hot water heater which began leaking the day after Susanna died, but the bathtub faucet is leaking. This is a cold winter and I hear the boiler chugging to keep up. There are hours of quiet when our boy is sleeping or at his afterschool program. The silent sadness waits for his screaming to pierce the void. We can not bring back the sound of her voice or the glorious screech and wail she was capable of. I can hear her if I look far enough within, but my ears no longer can unless I am dreaming. How amazing that my son is still here to make noise and call out to lead us back to peace. He does not know that is what he is doing, but he is, in the generous way of innocent children. He is a lighthouse, and a fog horn. By his example we guide each other through miserable oceans of grief and refuse to let our hearts drown.
This is an excerpt from my book in progress, a Valentine’s Day page:
It is Sunshine’s last Valentine’s Day. We go to her school to pick her up, and she has learned to say something with no words. First, she says it to me when I come to the door. Later she says it to Papi when we go to the car where he and Brother are waiting. This is what she says: points to her heart, inside of her puffy white bubble jacket, with the index finger of her right hand (the first word), hugs herself with a peaceful smile (second word), and points to me with the same finger (third word). She has given her whole self to the sequence and her whole soul to the message. Never, dear Sunshine, has anyone shown me more about love. And I will keep learning to see you and to know what you are saying even if I can never hear your voice, not with my ears like I used to but with my heart. Maybe I can be a good student like you and say what I need to in a new way.

By trishfreer

Mother, writer, artist and teacher grappling with grief and loss.

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