‘She is 5, her curls draped around her cheeks. As she straightens her crown, she finds the reflection of her gray hair and sad eyes staring back at her. She is dressing for her fourth funeral this year.’

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She is a baby noticing her reflection for the very first time. She is in amazement at the big blue saucer shaped eyes staring back at her. Her father holds her tight around him. He points at the mirror and says “baby” and she continues to stare back at her father and the baby imitating their every move. Her fat fingers reach for her reflection and suddenly…

She is five and trying to climb the stool she pulled in front of her vanity sink to reach high enough to see herself. Her curls are draped around her cheek bones and the crown that she placed on her head is slightly tilted to the left. She squeals with satisfaction as she inspects her beautiful jeweled tiara. Her parents exchange a look of satisfaction from the next room as they share the bond of mutual pride knowing they made the giggle that was coming from that precious little life. The laugh is full and innocent, and nothing is held back. As she reaches to straighten her crown with her hands and fingers and fingernails painted purple, she looks back to find the reflection of…

Courtesy of Adrienne Anzelmo

A nervous 16-year-old getting ready for her first date. She is teasing her hair and applying her eyeliner. Her eyes are filled with an eager hope and puppy love. Her yellow cordless phone with its long wire antenna is hanging on her ear as she goes over with her best friend for the 12th time what she will do if he tries to kiss her at the movie, or at the end of the night before he drops her off at home. As she hangs up her phone to check her lip liner one more time she finds…

A bride lifting her veil and smiling with such joy and peaceful happiness. Her hopes and dreams for her future are all rolled up into one beautiful white wedding dress. It is as if her reflection says a thousand words back at her. As her Mother comes up behind her with joyful tears in her eyes, she turns to her and looks back to find…

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An exhausted mother. Fatigue mixed with utter joy leaves her with a grin and a major case of bags under her eyes. She washes the night away and splashes water on her swollen eyes. The same eyes that spent four hours the night before up staring at her newborn, feeding him for what felt like all night long. She is more tired than she has ever been, but she doesn’t care. She has spent the night wrapping her hand around her new baby’s finger, noticing every arch in his skin and knowing out of pure love she created this life. As she bends down to pick up the blocks she was about to trip on, she smiled thinking of her toddler and looked up to see…

Courtesy of Adrienne Anzelmo

The image of a woman clumsily applying lipstick, knowing she needed to leave the house 5 minutes ago for her first parent teacher conference. Her husband is straightening his tie behind her in the corner of her reflection and passionately talking about a scuffle that happened that day at the office. She is worried the babysitter will never arrive and even more worried about the cough her son has had now for a few weeks. Should I call the pediatrician again she asks herself? It was an instant before…

She is 47 years old and applying anti-wrinkle cream and removing her teeth whitening tray. She is admiring the new lines in her skin at the corners of her eyes. She wondering when she started to look old. Questioning when the clock seemed to be ahead of her rather than her ahead of the clock. Time seemed to be passing too quickly now and she is worried about her growing children and what life will be like when they are gone and living their own life. She is concerned that soon the house she worked so hard for all of her adult life will be far too big. She is afraid she will just spend most of her day walking the floors wondering what to do with all the empty rooms. She worries she will no longer be enough for her husband. It has been so many years since it has been just the two of them. She also agonizes over the idea that her body will continue to deteriorate faster than her mind. In a split moment she is…

Courtesy of Adrienne Anzelmo

Looking at a reflection she is forced to blink a few times to see clearly. Her gray hair is set in curlers and her big, sad eyes are staring back at her. She is dressing for her fourth funeral this year and thinking about all the friends and family she has outlived. She considers bending down to fix her knee-high stocking that has fallen down, but fears her recent knee replacement will fail her. Instead, she lets the stocking slowly slide down towards her ankle and sighs deeply. With all the energy she thinks she has in her, she lifts her hand to meet her hand’s reflection in the mirror for one of the very last times…

Courtesy of Adrienne Anzelmo

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Adrienne Anzelmo of Massachusetts. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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