Lydia Walked

By Sarah Beth Childers

June 19, 2023

Lydia Walked

Lydia walked the day of my miscarriage. At sixteen-and-a-half months old, my daughter was committed to speed crawling across the drought-dirt lawn, to strolling the summer sidewalk while clutching a large, firm hand. An early crawler, she’d scuffed out the knees of every zip-up sleeper and pair of baby jeans she’d worn since she was five months old. Lydia had no desire, it seemed, to give up the crawling skills she’d taken nearly a year to perfect, or to walk without an attached companion. But that day, when I lay face down in bed, blinds closed against afternoon sunlight, she really didn’t like it when my sister plucked her off my back and carried her downstairs, giving me space to mourn.

In Lydia’s downstairs playroom, my sister tried crayons, Lydia-beloved dolls, books about dogs, steam shovels, and meerkats. Lydia ignored everything. She stood upright and grabbed her aunt’s hand. Then, when her aunt wouldn’t lead her back toward the stairs, she declared, “Mama,” dropped the hand, stepped solo across the wood floor.

I lay in bed, body crumpled as bedsheets, afraid my life had stopped along with the cell division in my uterus. Then Lydia walked. My sister ran up to get me. I wasn’t healed, but my life was moving again.


Sarah Beth Childers is the author of two essay collections: Shake Terribly the Earth: Stories from an Appalachian Family, and Prodigals: A Sister's Memoir of Appalachia and Loss. She lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with her husband and two daughters.


Image by NosamA courtesy of Adobe Stock

comments powered by Disqus « Back to Beautiful-Things

Newsletter Sign Up

shadow shadow