The National Catholic Review
For the woman who died Tuesday of raging cancer and left two children.
For those two children and their father at the table with her empty place.
For the way they will only set and wash three dinner dishes henceforth.
For the way they will stare at her empty place at the table for a long time.
For the way they will in time stop staring at her empty place at the table.
For the way they will come to unconsciously rearrange themselves at the table.
For the way they will for a long time make and eat and talk about her favorite foods.
For the way they will one day have to try to remember what those foods were.
For the way they will eventually realize that they have not thought of her for a whole day.
For the way they will weep when they realize they have not thought of her for a whole day.
For the way her death day will become an anniversary to be dreaded and observed.
For the way they will one day go through her clothes and keep only a few.
For the way her favorite gloves will one day surface unexpectedly
And the two children will look at each other and then take a glove each to keep.
For the way they will tell their father about her gloves when he comes home
And for the stagger in his heart when he hears the story and feels her hands again.



Brian Doyle is the editor of Portland magazine, at the University of Portland, Ore., and the author most recently of The Wet Engine (Paraclete Press).

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