It happened to me when I was standing over the bathtub, pondering the silty layer of grime left to clean. And isn't that how it always catches us? How the reaper knocks on our door, right in the midst of the mundane. Not at the appropriate moments, between hugs and the ceremonial goodbyes, but when we're backed up in our own little corner, holding a bottle of bleach and a new scrubber, completely focused and unsuspecting that the grief will slay us here.

I didn't cry, at least not outwardly. But in my heart, I was keening.

Here I had knelt down hundreds and maybe hundreds of hundreds of times to bathe my babies. This is the porcelain vessel where I cleaned brand-new belly-buttons and buffered soap from reaching tiny eyes. Original songs were composed right here, songs that only the tilework remembers. Mighty starfish figurines negotiated the terms of hair washings. Puppy dog towels punctuated the final rinse.

So, my heart heavy, I sat on the side of the tub and prayed that all these memories of raisin-wrinkled baby skin would be sealed away. This tub is where two babies got clean. This tub is where one woman learned to be a mother.