My father and stepmother were in town, so they took me out to dinner at a restaurant a good deal more upscale than the ones I usually frequent. The menu, printed in copperplate gothic bold, featured a smörgåsbord of resolutely non-kosher choices -- Curried Tasmanian Crabcakes, Ginger-Wrapped Skate, Pork Loin Dulce de Leche. I asked the waiter what the soup of the day was, but he said he couldn't tell me because "The chef personally creates it based on what he finds freshest at the market that morning."
We reviewed my nephews' soccer season, wondered why my sister never seems to be able to find a job or a boyfriend, critiqued the recent Supreme Court decisions on money laundering, and lamented the housing market in London.
At the end of the evening, as we were saying goodbye, my stepmother reached out to hug me and said, "We were so worried about you, Niobe. We didn't even know what to say."
"I'm fine," I said. And I meant it.
After the twins died, I read a lot of articles about bereavement and mourning. They said that the journey of grief goes on for a lifetime. They said that you never truly get over the death of a child. They said that the child who died will always have a special place in your heart.
They didn't say what to do when you come, unexpectedly, to the journey's end; when your fingers fumble, searching for that familiar hole in your heart, only to find it's no longer there.