I feel like I’m always on the brink of tears, but I never know what’s going to push me over the edge. I watch the news about other families who have lost kids, and I think, “This is where I would normally be crying.” But then I’ll see a story about a woman in her 80s who graduated from college with her grandson, and I bawl for 20 minutes. Or I’ll cry because my plant died, or that an event was canceled, or at a detergent commercial. But  reading about a friend’s loss, or hearing “Single Ladies” on the radio? My eyes stay dry.

We’ve been at my parents’ house the last few days. On Sunday my brother, aunt, cousin, and her boyfriend came to my parents’ house for a BBQ. It was nice to be with my family, but I couldn’t get past who was missing. And the fact that no one talked about her, or even spoke her name. It’s Madeline. Madeline.

Watching the news on Memorial Day, my mom commented on President Obama’s hair, which is decidedly more salt-and-pepper than it was at his inauguration in January. “Can you believe how quickly stress can do that to a person?” she asked. Yes, I can. The stray gray hairs I’d find every now and then have given way to clusters of white. White hairs. I’ve advanced beyond gray. I’m so ahead of the curve.

At my parents’ house their front doors have glass windows along the top. My dad loved to take Maddie all around the house, and if they found a window they would usually go outside and peer through the glass at the rest of us. I was walking through the front doors when something caught my eye. The sun was shining just right.

Maddie's Handprint

Her tiny partial hand print, from one of her many adventures with her Bampa.

That made me cry.