Saturday, February 22, 2014

Play It Again, Toads!


The lab tech and the pretty Filipino nurse fell in love.
The other Filipino nurses all loved Roger.
"He is our brother," they said.
They married soon and, some months later,
Gloria gave birth to their baby boy.

They had time to exchange a thrilled, ecstatic kiss,
and to name their baby boy Brian,
before Gloria suddenly hemorrhaged, and died.

Roger walked around for weeks,
white and stunned as the walking dead,
clutching his baby, kissing his cheeks
till they spotted with rashes,
from being kissed too much.
The only thing he knew was,
he could not  put the baby down,
could not unwrap his arms from him,
for he was all he had left of Gloria,
the gift she had left behind, departing.

The Curley family fostered the baby for seven months,
while Roger confronted his grief, his altered life,
his banished dreams.
But then they said that
they and the baby were 
getting too attached 
and it was better for him to be with his father.

Suddenly, a wedding was announced.
The baby needed a mother.
There was another Filipino nurse -
pretty, warm, loving,

-so like Gloria - 
who loved Roger;
and one other - reserved, more plain, quieter,
a more pragmatic choice.
I think Roger felt it would be a betrayal of Gloria 
to choose the warm pretty one -
the one he maybe could come to love.

So he chose the quiet one,
so he could keep his son.

Of course, it didn't work.

I passed their house, one afternoon,
Roger standing in the window,
clutching baby Brian, sad eyes looking out
at a dismal landscape: no hope, no dreams, no joy.
She wrote me, the following year,
that she had had a son,
and that the family was two camps:
Roger and Brian,
and she and her son.
That her heart was broken.

Sometimes love goes happily.
Sometimes it hurts way too much.

I wonder how it all turned out,
if they stayed together,
or if there continued to be two camps 
of parents and sons -
those two innocents, born into a world of hurt
and misplaced hearts.

Sometimes, love hurts.

Posted for Margaret's Play It Again prompt, where we are asked to choose a prompt out of three selected from the Toads' archives. Cool! I chose Shay's "Lights, Camera, Love!", where we are to write a love story. Sadly, this is a true one.

It happened in 1967, in Alert Bay, BC, a teeny two by five mile island, off north eastern Vancouver Island, where I lived when I was first married. The death occurred one week before I gave birth to my first child - he almost died, too, and I had a traumatic experience in the tiny hospital there. I remember the Filipino nurses, at Gloria's funeral, wailing and stumbling with grief, and how one touched my belly and assured me, "This wont happen to you". I remember the doctor saying to me, as I lay on the birthing table, "It was so sad, watching her die. There was nothing I could do." Dr. Pickup. I just remembered his name.


  1. man, he wasnt ready but had a need...and couldnt let go and move on...sad they ended up being two camps in the house...not much of a life there...and imagine how hard now for that new baby that has no real dad...

  2. What a saga - I just want to go in and erase and write down a different path… Such a vulnerable, heart wrenching story-poem.

  3. I gripping and sad tale for sure. Some hopef at the end. I've been to alert bay - it is a magical place.

  4. Nothing beats true life when it comes to heartache.

  5. Unbearably sad, Sherry. Those poor babies. Those poor, dear babies.

  6. Love hurts, indeed. But the mere fact that there were babies born out of love, despite the tragic past, at the end of the story Love will still win. Love is the most powerful thing in the world. It can destroy you, sometimes, but the end result is much better. We, people don't just realize it because we tend to be self-centered most of the time when we talk about love. Smiles.

  7. What a sad sad tale.. And how the sadness was passed on... Childbirth can be lethal... Whatever happened to Roger and Brian in the end?

    1. I dont know, kiddo. The letter was the last I heard of their family. I can only hope that over time, love grew and learned to make a life with What Is so they could move on from What Was.

  8. What a great terrible tale, the purest tragic weave. You narrate it with the proper deftness since it's so painful to read, offering the simplest of conclusions and leaving us to ponder everything there. Fine job.

  9. Wow, what a sad story. Life is what happens, sometimes horribly, while we're making other plans.

  10. How sad Sherry, I was hoping for love to be regained again & rebuilding a strong family ~ But such is the price of loving too much and not letting go ~ Happy Sunday ~

  11. More homes than we know have two camps. How very sad.

  12. If you hadn't said this was a true story, I still would have known it was true somewhere. Love is too small too often. Even when a big love turns to grief, it is too small.

  13. Sad, so hauntingly tragic! I am sorry to hear this, but it seems to be a reoccurring theme with love. It is like a wheel of fortune...I too hoped for a happy ending, but it isn't always in the cards....

    Thanks for sharing! You wrote it so well~

    I am happy your child was okay, but scary to be around the grieving during your moment to celebrate wonder!

  14. You tell it so well, Sherry...this is utterly heartbreaking.

  15. This is incredibly sad, but beautifully told, Sherry.

  16. Such a sad story Sherry. I wish it wasn't true. But life has more sadness for some than for others. Thank you for sharing it. You somehow honor those lives by telling their story.

  17. This is a sad story...but there is sadness in every life, some sadder than others...but there are always blue skies, too. Humans seem to try to create for themselves a happy path...but it is the sadness takes makes us the deep people we are, no longer children, believing in shiny bubbles. It is when our feet dive deep, grow roots, gain new understanding.

  18. I cam back to say more...I don't know if anything I said got published?

  19. Now I see, that my second comment, got lost. I was thinking how interesting it is, sometimes we see something, we don't know the whole story, we wonder, and many years later, we still wonder.

  20. Oh Sherry, this is a hard to read post ... Love is complex at best.

  21. Dr. Pickup. Wow. The details are aching and so clearly drawn, Sherry ~

  22. you've captured a beautifully heartbreaking, yet heart touching love story of a type of love at it's purest! lovely writing!

    stacy lynn mar


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