The Pregnancy Test Looks Bad

“The baby may be developing the same thing that caused our first baby’s death,” I informed my mother in a broken voice. My face was covered by a wet film of sweat. I was ashen underneath. When the words left my lips, my mouth swelled. I breathed heavily and erratically. I felt like my heart had stopped beating.

My mother fell into the couch, slumped over. She looked at the floor and clutched her breast like someone who had been shot by an assassin. There was no blood, but she was drenched in horror. The gut-wrenching news sent her reeling, like a boxer to the canvas.

“No, oh god no,” was all she could say.

Sheila was still standing by my side, wobbly but erect. She began to sob after she heard the awful news for the second time. She was trembling.

Two Mothers Share Embrace

When my mother saw Sheila crying, she slowly raised herself from the couch on shaky legs and grabbed Sheila in a warm embrace. They both sank back down holding each other tightly. They wept together in each other’s arms.

Sheila tried to speak in order to thank my mother for her caring, but her breath choked in her lungs. She felt as if she was being strangled.

I collapsed in the large chair next to the couch, holding my hand over my face.

“How could this happen?” I thought. “Why should my wonderful wife be tormented this way?”

Very quickly my mind began to drift as before, wandering off course. The contours of the living room seem to waver as a lost my grip on reality again. The air felt thick and heavy.

‘We’re Rattled’

The three of us remained as we were for what seemed an eternity. An hour passed by. Then Sheila sat up on the couch, dried her eyes and began to speak. Clearly, she had regained her composure. My mother and I were still in shock, but seeing Sheila recovered, ready to say something, felt like we were brushed by an angel’s wings. That soft mild feeling somehow lifted the fog from our minds. The dense turbulent mist of confusion began to clear.

“Well, we three are a sight to behold. Now that we’ve had a good cry, we need to get on with life. True, we’re rattled and shaken. But there’s hope as Dr. Dawes explained that things can work out, that our son might be healthy.” Sheila pronounced.

“So we need to stop lamenting what hasn’t happened yet. We need to move on for ourselves, and for Kim. We can’t let her see how upset we are.”

A Necessary Expression of Emotion

It was clear that Sheila was not going to surrender to misery and self-pity.

“It was good that we allowed ourselves to collapse in pain. That was a necessary catharsis. Now we need to recover from our initial emotions and start looking positively to the future. We can’t be angry or feel sorry for ourselves. I know that we’re dreadfully upset, punched in the stomach by the news. We need to keep our heads up, show some courage, or these next two weeks will be a living hell. It’ll kill all three of us. And I won’t be a part of that.”

Sheila scoffed at the ideas of self-pity and crippling frustration, which would only result in more misery. She refused to surrender to doubt and negative thoughts.

My wife was held in high regard, respect, and affection by everyone who knew her. Sheila’s stalwart character was admired and praised, serving as a model for inner courage, resiliency, and endurance. These traits were balanced by her kindness and caring for others. She was nice to everyone, and her delicate sweetness belied the toughness inside. Her words were not wasted on my mother and me.

“Of course, you’re right,” I said rising in my chair.

Finding Optimism

“You’re amazing. Damn, do I love you.” I kissed her on the lips.

“We’ll get through this like we have every other nasty thing that’s happened in the past.” Sheila concluded.

“You said we need to be strong for Kim,” I added, “and we do. I think we also need to be optimistic for Carolyn and Matthew. We owe it to them, so their deaths might have some meaning in the end.”

Sheila’s approach to this situation was rubbing off on me. From her stamina and spirit, I had gained the energy to push forward many times in the past. This was no exception.

The previous is excerpted from the book, Weave of Destiny, by Ken Lefkowitz, published by Legacy Book Press. Available for sale at this link: Weave of Destiny – Legacy Book Press


Ken Lefkowitz

KEN LEFKOWITZ has a BA degree from Brooklyn College, an MS degree from the City University of NY and a graduate business studies at St. John's University. Currently retired. Formerly a consultant and Sr. Director for major corporations, where he managed people from all walks of life and from many locations and cultures. Book “Weave of Destiny” is about the jagged road he and his wife traveled to have a family of their own. Published by Legacy Book Press. Other writing and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Courier Post/USA Today, and the Washington Post as well as in professional business journals.

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