There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Finding Mark in Wal-Mart

Since Mark's death, there hasn't been a trip to Wal-Mart that hasn't been especially painful. There, I am barraged by reminders of him...things that he had, clothes that I would be buying him, toys that I would be buying for him, little boys that look like him, ALL little boys, size 5 diapers, American cheese and blue and green pacifiers.

Even though I am not fond of visiting this "mega mart" of memories and torture...the shopping must be done. For months after Mark died, I would try and go by myself...knowing that I would end up walking through the aisles while sobbing uncontrollably. It has gotten better over time and with my girls with me, I truly try and hold it together.

Which brings me to my trip to Wal-Mart yesterday afternoon. It started out innocently enough. I had Macy and baby Maegan with me and everything started out so well. We were breezing through the store, checking things off of the list without the normal heaviness that I usually feel in my chest. The bliss was cut short when I remembered that I needed to visit the children's/baby department to pick up a couple of things for Maegan. By this time, both of the girls were asleep and I planned on getting what I needed and moving on.

Then...I heard it. More specifically...I heard him. Mark! It was him! I heard him crying...I couldn't see him, but I heard him trying to tell his mama what he was him! Instantly, my brain played the funny little trick that it does so often in its grief and told me that it had to be Mark...God had sent him back and he was with some stranger on the next aisle. My throat closed up, my heart almost exploded and then, I froze. I couldn't move. I envisioned myself running to him, scooping him up...squeezing him...

Then, almost as instantly as it came...the fantasy was gone. Reality was ready and waiting to slap me in the face again. There, in the children's department of Wal-Mart...I had to say goodbye to my son all over again. Standing, crying, and overcome with grief with nothing to do but listen to a little boy that sounded JUST like Mark, cry to his mama. At one point, I wanted to find him and ask his mother if I could take him home. "You know, if you are frustrated and don't want him...I'll take him!" Really...I almost did. I probably would have been slapped by the mother...but I wasn't thinking about that then. All I wanted was my Mark back. All I wanted was to die at that very moment.

When I was finally able to compose myself and move feet moved slowly. My mind raced and my heart pounded. In the remainder of my shopping excursion, I heard someone calling for "Mark!", I had to visit the baby food aisle and look at the gerber graduate snacks that Mark liked to eat, I had to look at a box of Huggies size 5 diapers and I had to buy cheese that sat next to the American slices. (sigh) To top it all off, we were there to buy a big bouncy ball for Macy and do you know where they were located? Right next to the full body swimsuits that have built in floatation!

I have beat myself up time and time again for not having Mark in one of those. Would it have helped? I don't know. We had one years ago for one of our girls and it tipped them over forward in the water and so we stopped using it. Since then, I never had the desire to use another one. But, in Mark's might have saved him since he had taken off his life jacket just a few minutes before he drown. I really don't know and I certainly try not to think about it...but there again is the torture. The thoughts that I can't stop from coming and the conclusions that I can't help but coming to.

I wish I still had Mark wrestling with the seat belt of the cart...trying to climb out. I wish I still was able to buy him a little lunchable to eat so that I could shop. I wish that I was buying him a new pair of the cutest little boy sandals and a t-shirt with a dinosaur on it. Mostly, I wish that I was giving my Marco-Polo loads of kisses and hugs and tickles that he liked while he sat in the cart...face to face with me...his mama.


  1. I wish I could say/do something that would take away some of the pain, but that's impossible...just want you to know that I'm praying and thinking about you and your family. One thing that stuck with me when I was reading Karol's "Loving Laynee" blog is when she said that it's not the pool's fault. God willed Laynee home just like God willed Mark home. As she said, if she didn't have a pool, God would have found another way to bring her home. From one mother's heart to another, I am so sorry for your pain and loss.

  2. I do the same thing in Target. This week was full of awful flashbacks. Praying for you...

  3. Angie, I am so sorry. I don't have words to say that will change anything but I wanted you to know that I love you and your family.

  4. I'm heart broken. I found Mark in Wal-Mart last night. I don't know you and never met Mark, but I went to Wal-Mart last night and I saw a glimpse through your eyes. I saw them, the diapers, the pool toys, the floaties. When I was checking out and I saw a warning label on the the pool I bought and I started crying. I have almost commented 5 times and decided not too. Not sure if it was inappropriate? I haven't lost a child, I don't know you, who am I to comment?? Right?? I am a mother of a 2 year old boy. I am a mother who tries so hard to love him a little more, touch him more, kiss him more, smell him, look at him, watch out for all the hidden dangers. I do this because of you, your story and what you have shared. Okay, I am going to post this. You can delete if you want. I pray for you and peace.