The Superman Shirts


I was sitting with Kiks tonight.

The door cracked open and little Dutch peeked in, catching me crying. Hesitantly he walked over to me, climbing up in to my lap as Murphy the borrow dog pushed in behind him. Ever so quietly he said “Pippa is it time for the superman shirts?”

My heart burst into a thousand shatters. I hated myself for every mistake I have ever made. I hated Kevin for dying. I hate life for always hurting.  Hate, anger, rage boiled up giving me strength… “Yes baby, it is.” I stood up holding him, his arms going tight around my neck. We quietly went back to his room where I opened the bottom drawer of his dresser. Neatly folded inside, 14 different Superman tshirts. I pulled his pajama top off of his string-bean body and helped him put on the one he chose. He smoothed the emblem over his chest and looked at me… Fat tears and woobly lips.  I raised my hand palms out, he matched mine.. as his father had done when I was 8 and his father 12. I got you I said. I got you he replied. Then we folded fingers in holding hands.  His face was so like his fathers I felt unhinged. We went over to the big chair, I wrapped a blanket around us as the dog settled at ur feet.

I explained again how his mama was, that in the next days they would have to give her special medicine to help her not hurt. N that she would have to sleep more and one day.. very gently she would go and float like the red balloons we release into the sky and go be with his daddy forevermore. But that Superman shirts were going to help him… They would give him strength when he didn’t have it. Give him bravery when he was afraid. And soothe him when he was sad…One every day for 14 days then start over… Because Superman is a hero…

He held me so tightly. Tell me a story about my Mama he whispered…….. then I faltered, so upset because he always asks for stories about his father. I pet his beautiful face and began a story of his mother and father.  About the big giant oak tree his daddy picked to ask  his mama to be his wife, how his daddy was so in love with her. And how happy I was that the two people I loved most has found shelter in each other. I told him stories of how fierce his mama was… All the places we had been together so that his mama could fix and heal. I told him that his mama was my hero.  and since she was my hero that meant that he, Dutch, was my little superhero…His eyelids faltered so I managed to get him in his bed. The old wise borrow dog shuffled over to lay directly against his bed.

I went back in to check on Kiks as Doc brought in the equipment. In the morning we would rent the rest of the medical gear as needed, Id managed to sidestep Hospice and call on the favors of aide workers and Orgs near me.  Id managed to scrape together money and hands to help… Because thats what I do.  That’s my strength. I went into a drugged sleep not accepting the words No or Can’t.

It is the afternoon after last night and I sit here… medical machines and paraphernalia have transformed this room. Despite scented candles burning there is that hospital smell. My girl is asleep. SO frail on her way to ethereal.  I look at the wedding dress hanging on a hook and her wish tree, filled with written leaves of love. I look at the framed photos of all the moments that have come to pass. When Monsignor was here, I had him pray with me over Kevin’s prayer cards and my sacred rosary… Because I am always game for a miracle of time or fairy-tale of comfort…. And I realized somewhat angrily that I am utterly ill equipped for what is to come. No more grand gestures to give her strength…  no more pleas or promises fulfilled. I’ve outdone myself straight out of a job. Her children have a father in Nick, her now husband. They have a transitional home, they have new future where they will be surrounded by Kevin’s family and have Nick as well. They have God-Parents. They have so much love and my beautiful girl, with her seaglass eyes and rasberry lips is safe and ever so loved here in the grip of all of us.  In trip after trip, top down, wind in our hair we took the mountain on. I have every hope wish and worry recorded in my book. She picked all of the music she wanted to leave behind. She screamed into the wind… She begged, she wept the kind of tears that have altered me. I controlled every moment as best I could. Memory making, giving her grand vistas, showing her dreams were hers for the taking yet.

AND so much love bloomed …She fell in love with the medic from our lie and die team. A man who we jokingly called the meanest man in the world became the kind of moral, fierce warrior that holds babies with ease, has a deep well of patience & humanity. He is his best self now. The children and Kik’s love broke the stone and drew out the man from within. IN the loving of her, many long strained relationships from a lot of us healed. None of us is perfect. But Kiks comes pretty damn close. She used to say I was the heart and the anger heat and she was the calm and methodical. Between us we shaped glass. We tempered the sights of destruction with an ability to see past it. We succeeded where others didnt because our team…each member, uniquely flawed and blessed. So I sit here about to go and hunt down a Superman doll to buy, as Dutch has a lost look in his eyes as he quietly plays with a castle book on the floor of his mamas room. Eva wouldn’t eat her breakfast and fussed during lunch. And I wonder does she sense it a  year?

I am trying so hard to make these nexts days.. or maybe weeks, not filled with sadness. But I am running out of magic. I dont have the right words, I used them all. I miss my man. I miss my son. I miss my parents. I am so scared I envy the magic of Superman shirts.

I almost didn’t write this. But I keep saying the wrong words in the wrong way because I am utterly lost and angry.






4 thoughts on “The Superman Shirts

  1. It doesn’t matter what you do, you can never be prepared for just how much your heart breaks when a beloved person dies. It shatters utterly, and most of it comes back together after a long time, but there’s always a missing piece because the person who left took it with them. The pain never quite goes away, because you miss them always, but eventually you can breathe again and they’re not in front of every step you take. I promise that it’ll get better, even if there’s no way you’ll believe it, not for a very long time. xxxx


  2. Adding my tears and my heart to yours.
    The parcel was posted today. In my haste I didn’t put in a card. If I had it would just say LOVE 💕💕💕


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