Insanity of Motherhood

Motherhood, marriage, and midlife.

Lost For Words


The school year is on its way.  Things are going well.  So well, that last week I went to a coffee shop alone to treat myself after dropping the boys off at school.

While waiting in line to get a coffee I noticed a young woman with two small girls.  The girls seemed similar in age, but did not look-alike.  The girls were giggling and holding hands.  Seeing the two of them made me smile.  I made a comment to the young woman how nice it is to have a friend to hang out with.  She informed me one girl was her daughter and one was her niece.  The two girls were cousins, not friends.

While we waited in line to order coffee the woman asked if I had children.  I told her I had three boys.  She mentioned she had three brothers and said she felt sorry for me.  We both laughed.  Our conversation continued.  She  informed me she takes care of her niece full-time while her sister works.  At one point the woman asked about my extended family.

“Do you have any family in town?”- Young Woman

“No.  We have a lot of good friends, but all of our family lives elsewhere.” – Me

“Oh.  Do you have a sisters or brothers?” – Young Woman

“Yes.  I have three sisters and one brother.” – Me

“That’s a big family.  You must have a lot of nieces and nephews.” – Young Woman

I stayed silent for a moment.  I wasn’t sure how to answer her question.  I made a quick decision to tell the truth.

“No.  I only had one niece.  But sadly she died years ago.” – Me

The woman looked at me with wide eyes.   I could tell she was searching for the right words to say to me.  She placed her arm around both of the girls and gave them a squeeze.

“I’m so sorry.” – Young Woman

“Thank you.” – Me

For a moment I thought about trying to explain about my niece.  How she was born to my younger sister, a woman who struggles with mental illness.  How my mother helped to raise her until she passed away. How my two sisters, both single, raised her to be their own.  How she was only 19 when she died from an accidental overdose of alcohol and medication.

The woman turned and faced away from me, hugging the two girls.  I wanted desperately to tap her shoulder to tell her all about my beautiful niece.  How my Tall Boy looks just like her.   How funny she was.  How she wanted to a cosmologist.  How flawless her skin was.  How much I missed her and being an aunt.  But I stayed silent.

Tears filled my eyes as I began to think of my niece.  Suddenly, having a coffee didn’t interest me.  I headed toward the door to leave the coffee shop.  I looked back briefly to see the young woman looking at me.  Her eyes looked misty.  I knew she wanted to say something… anything, but couldn’t.  I gave her a weak smile and walked out the door.

She was lost for words, as I was with to her.

I walked quickly to my car.  I opened the door mere seconds before the tears began to flow.  I sat down in the car and cried.  My heart ached for my niece.  I missed her so much.  I wished I could see her again and talk to her.  Tell her all the things I forgot to say when she way alive.  How proud I was of her.  How sorry I was that we had a big fight.  How beautiful I thought she was.  How much I missed her funny jokes and smile.

I wished I had another chance to say, all the things I should have told her.  Just one more chance.

I would not be lost for words.

Author: insanityofmotherhood

Mom of three boys, wife, educator, and all around nice gal in the middle of a midlife something. It's not a crisis, but it's something…

17 thoughts on “Lost For Words

  1. No one really knows your inner self and how you really feel. Sometimes it helps to share your story. My great nephew shot himself last December just six months after my sister died. My niece and her husband live next-door to my sister and brother-in-law. No one knows why? This happened. My brother-in-law went over to get him to go buy a car as he had wrecked his and was driving his mom’s car. He wasn’t answering his phone so Ronnie walked inside and was the first to see him. Such tragedy! He had a job for one year that he enjoyed, and the same girlfriend for one year, and his life seem to be going good. Everyone was shocked! This innocent person talking to you was probably in shock herself. She will always be curious about your story.

    • Sometimes all the right words come and sometimes not. I was unprepared to talk to anyone that morning. I could and should have said more or less, but didn’t. If the young woman has expericenced loss herself I am sure she understands.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear the tragic story of your niece. I’m sorry you can no longer enjoy her & she cant fulfill her potential.

  3. Oh I am so sorry you had to experience that on a morning that started so hopeful. I am new your blog and wish not to intrude, but it is evident how much you love your niece. Why not write out all the things about her, her life, your relationship, things you wish you had said.. Sounds like a beautiful book for you and the family.

  4. (quietly I thank you for sharing)

  5. I understand your loss only too well, only I didn’t lose my nephew or niece, I lost my oldest son to a murderer. Today, he would have turned 38. He died when he was 21. It is very hard when it hits you like it did today. Some days those who are grieving go along and have good memories and thoughts, and the pain is a bit more distant, then someone asks a question like, How many kids do you have, and all the pain comes pouring back in. I am so sorry for your loss, and I can say that because I know how you feel. Sending you a cyber hug and prayers.

  6. The young mother you met had exactly the right reaction… to hug her little ones a little closer.

  7. Oh… Sad. That’s all that I can think of to say, Nate. I have a beautiful niece through my sister-in-law who is eight, and I love her dearly. I will be holding her tight the next time we visit. I always am concerned for the safety of my boys, but I rarely worry about the safety of my niece. And not because I don’t care, but it seems like she is untouchable. Like she will always be there. I know now not to take her for granted a bit. Thank you for sharing your story, so that you may touch others. God’s blessings for you and the rest of your family who will always remember your niece. Hugs.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I used to worry something would happen to my niece, but mainly that she might get pregnant. It never occured to me something far worse could happen. She was my girl. The girl I did not give birth to. Hugs right back.

  8. Sending you hugs. Thank you for sharing your niece with us. Take care.

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