It was the first time

since her death

that defiance flashed across his face


he was tired.

tired of goodbyes.

tired of the tears.

tired of having to reach for tissues every time a bittersweet memory invaded his little heart.


He was tired of all the grown-ups trying to explain something they didn’t quite understand themselves.


He wrapped himself tightly in his blanket

seeking refuge from the world as he tried to make peace with the darkness

but anger seeped out from beneath the loose corners

and I sat there




until he came out from under his cotton cocoon and said:

“I feel like breaking something.”

I nodded my head in absolute agreement

my eyes fixated on the three pumpkins announcing Fall’s arrival in our living room

and I rose quietly from the couch

dug through my husband’s toolbox

guided my young son onto the patio

and placed the pumpkins on the ground


his red-rimmed eyes doubled in size when I gave him permission to swing

and he kept glancing back to make sure I hadn’t changed my mind

but soon his timid arms gave way to the storm brewing inside him

and those pumpkins never stood a chance


It didn’t fix everything.

It didn’t make him miss her any less.

But he spent the rest of the night curled up next to me on the couch

a new, unspoken understanding between us

his shoulders relaxed

his hands intertwined with mine

his salty tears on pause

while I made a silent vow to myself to always remember


sometimes he’ll need a hug.


And sometimes he’ll need a hammer.


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5 Replies to “Sometimes He’ll Need a Hug. And Sometimes He’ll Need a Hammer.”

  1. And…now I need a tissue! Oh, so wonderful that he could TELL you that he needed to break something. And so awesome that the pumpkins went to the cause. Love you.

  2. Ain’t it the absolute truth!!!! We all need to break something sometimes, to give us a little control in a storm of things completely out of our control. Sweet boy, I love him so. I only met him once, but he really stole my heart. Your boys are incredible, and you have a family strong as the mountains. Hugs to you all through this seriously NOT fun time. Things will get better. Way to go mama. One of the best I know.

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