I shared this photo recently on Facebook (it was taken about a year ago), but tonight I had kind of a download in understanding the intensity of grief I feel each evening starting around 5PM.

It was kind of driving me crazy. Like clockwork, it would whoosh in.

I wasn’t aware of the cycle at first, but now I see it clearly. My chest gets tight when it’s time to make dinner. I avoid it. It’s hard to even get the simplest kitchen tasks done. I simply dread it. I kept thinking maybe the days have just been long and I’m spent by that time.

But today I realized, that this time of night was my favorite time of day. We would wish our day time nurse good night, and we would bring Mattie downstairs after his nap. Having this boy in my kitchen or in the living room near by wrestling his brother was one of the most joyful times of day for me. The house was full of sounds that made me happy. I would hook up Mattie’s dinner time feeding, stop occasionally  to tend to his other needs, all while juggling dinner preparations. But mostly I would revel in the beauty of our crazy normal.

I loved my normal.

And now most evenings, it’s just far too quiet and my heart remembers how this time of day is supposed to feel.

Yes, I know only one person is missing. Please don’t remind me that I have other children. I know I do, and I love them each dearly.

But one child is missing from his place on my kitchen floor. And that spot is very, very empty.