I am visiting with women, working hard with my limited spanish and their non-existent english to communicate, on the driveway of the little Mexican church, when my seven-year-old and his playmates come up to me. In my ear I hear the gasp of a woman beside me, and I turn and see my son, blood streaming red down his too-white face and covering the front of his shirt. In a second I register the fear in his wide and staring eyes. My knees give a little and my breath leaves me as I reach for him and try to gather him, bloody, into my arms.
Voices trip over each other, trying to explain. His little friend’s words tumble into the air in front of me, telling of the climbing and the bumping and the falling. I’m going to lose it, I say to my sister, and she leads us to a chair and we sit and we search for the source of the red.
In the end there is no need for hospitals or stitches or much beyond holding close and washing and that reluctant release back into the newly re-realized unknown. But the feeling, the gutted Oh My God uncertainty, the sight of my bleeding boy… it haunts me.
Mother’s say goodbye to boys and boys go out and do their things and there is a whole lot of unknown about it. And for the girls too, I know, but the boys are what I have and the boys are in our Canadian News these days.
Three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, fallen in Moncton and remembered yesterday with the red that I and so many wore, and the sea of red uniforms at the memorial service. All the red, and there are mothers who will be forever haunted by the stream of it running down the streets in honour of their boys.
Yesterday, my heart was with the community of Moncton, and with the families and friends of these men.
Today, the day after all the emotion of the public farewell, my heart is with the quiet, private grief of the mothers. May your sons rest in peace.