“They Died at Home,” part 3, from “Pushing the River” #MondayBlogs


The blazing azalea bush was in full bloom, and my Lady was still being carried around inside when her mama and daddy bought their house. She knowed this from a photograph of the two of them standing in front of the azalea that spring, and another one of just her mama the very next spring holding a wild-haired infant of a few months when the bush broke out again.

And the boy was growing and kicking inside of my Lady while she and the Husband trudged around looking at place after place. They done their level best to look past the scraps of other people’s lives and to gaze ahead, trying to picture if the mortar and brick that stood around them could ever be a true home. It was early days for them, and the Husband could tell when his pregnant wife was working hard to recall the stoic spirit of her own mama, setting her chin against the desolation rising up behind her eyes. He reached for her hand, and he kissed it. “We’ll find it, baby. We will.”

She growed up thinking that this was the way the world was meant to be. You growed up and you found a worthy partner and you started a family and you made a home to raise them in. And you stayed. You weathered whatever came along, and you stayed. You kept right on staying until the moment of your very last breath on Earth, and you did it in the place where you’d lived.


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