I just have a lot to say.
February 12th, 2015 by

When Your Friend’s Son Dies

“Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman.”

We have periods. Before we start, we have PMS. We retain water and have cramps. Our boobs get sore.

We squeeze babies out of our bottoms, and it hurts like a son-of-a-gun. Our backs are never the same.

Some of us never bear babies. Still, we mark the day on the calendar every month for 40 years or more.

Boys beat each other up and get over it. Girls talk behind each others backs and make friends cry and never forget.

We are mean to one another even when we are grownups.

“You don’t stay home with your children? I can’t imagine letting someone else raise my child.”

“You don’t have a job? What in the world do you do all day?”

Lots of men help around the house. Lots of men don’t. Lots of women carry the burden of the paycheck and the children and the chores.

The menstruation slows. We burn from the inside. The Change comes.

Men think about a diet and lose weight. Women think about a bite of something fried, and it goes straight to our butts.

And yet.

Women get to hold each other and kiss each other on the cheeks. We get to touch each other in the hard times. We get to say, “I love you, I love you, I love you” when there is nothing else to say.

The day after my friend’s son died, a stunned group of women sat on the staircase for hours. I played with her hair. I combed it with my fingers. I made sure that my nails scratched her back as I flattened it out. I braided it and unbraided it.

The men didn’t try to be brave. They cried and said “I love you” too. Then, they had to do something. They had to pick up the half-empty water bottles strewn about the house and bag up the trash and put in new liners and ask what day is the garbage pickup.

“I’ll be back in the morning to mow the grass.”

They asked about gas in vehicles and fixed running toilets and sticky windows.

They kicked a lot of pebbles looking for something constructive to do, some tangible way to try to bring comfort in the nightmare.

I twisted and untwisted my friend’s hair. I rubbed her back and massaged her neck. I combed her hair with my fingers as she cried.

Sometimes it’s good to be a girl.

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