Published by Nikki Lee Taylor
Not all mothers are created equal… Some are better at hiding the truth
Crippled with anxiety, Sophie is desperate to overcome the pain of losing her husband and only child in a freak car accident. Living and working in isolation with only the company of her dog Miss Molly, Sophie agrees to take on a job reviewing the manuscript of an up-and-coming writer. But this isn’t any story. It is one that unearths old secrets and to discover the truth, Sophie must find the courage to embark on a search that will change her life forever.
On the outside, Love Mommy blogging queen Madelyn-May has it all. To her online community she is the perfect mother. She has a successful husband, perfect twins, and an idyllic life. What they don’t know is Madelyn-May also has a secret. When her past collides with the present, Madelyn-May is forced to make a choice that could destroy everything she loves.
Would you risk destroying a family, if it meant healing your own heart? Would you tell the truth, if it meant losing everything you love?
The Secrets We Keep is a confronting look at the complexities of family and lengths a mother will go to for her child.
My life. My love. My family. James and Josh. My husband and son, stolen while I was sleeping, peacefully unaware at that very moment that the entire world was shattering.
It’s the small things that hurt the most. An unexpected letter with his name on it. A television commercial for Linvilla Orchards – where we picked peaches every July, just the two of us at first, and then with Josh. His familiar scent trailing behind a stranger, its ghostly arms wrapping around my lungs and squeezing. The crisp sting of empty sheets as autumn turns to winter. Worst of all: the sudden ring of a child’s laughter breaking the silence and tearing my heart into a thousand tiny pieces.
I stroke the fur on Miss Molly’s golden head and close my eyes. “I’m sorry,” I whisper, even though dogs don’t understand apologies. “It’s this day, it’s….”
I let the words trail off, unable to say out loud that five years ago my husband and son took their last breath, trapped in a car wreck, and I hadn’t been there. Unable to say that while they were dying, I lay peacefully in bed, useless and selfish, taking an afternoon nap. It hadn’t even woken me. I hadn’t sat up, my instincts kicking into overdrive. I hadn’t experienced so much as a bad dream.
At the time friends told me I should try to forgive myself, that it wasn’t my fault. They brought soup, and sent messages. They held me and promised things would get better. They stood on my stoop and reminded me, “There’s nothing you could have done.”
Therapists call my depression and anxiety a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Survivor’s guilt, they say, although that’s not the official term. Apparently it’s natural for parents who outlive their children to experience a sense of blame, but I have struggled to believe there is anything natural about it. Could there be anything more unnatural than for a mother to bury her son?
Then there were the people who told me to have faith. I’ve never been a religious person, but I have stood alone on a rainy afternoon and heard the hollow thump of dirt shoveled onto a tiny white casket. I’ve heard the mournful cry of a loon as people, not knowing what else to say, turned and made the sad walk back to their cars. I have stood as day turned to night, staring at two holes in the ground, hoping my husband and son wouldn’t be cold on the first night away from their beds. Away from me. Having faith would mean believing James and Josh were taken for a reason, that there was some divinity to their absence. There is not. There is only pain and empty spaces.
I get up from the couch and pull the curtains further across. But no matter how dark I make the room, there are always slivers of light that keep me in the place I don’t want to be.
Slivers that never let me bury the one question I still have no answer for.
How do I ever find the strength to step into the light when they are forever lost in the dark?
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