I wear his slippers, every day.


I can’t walk in them. They’re way too big. Instead, I keep them at my desk where, at the start of my writing day, I slip them on first thing. Chris always had a pair of these slippers. This was actually a fairly new pair, at the time they became mine. He hadn’t worn them down, or out, like the other pair I keep with his things. He’d worn these when he came home to visit, after he left home, and then when he moved back because things had gone so wrong.

He always had this particular kind slippers, because they cushioned the pain in the bottom of his foot. Walking barefoot was like walking on razor blades, so he never did it. Recently, I’ve had some issues with the bottom of my foot; that first step was excruciating. The rest weren’t quite as bad, but bad. While Frank and I were in Virginia, it hurt so much that he had to go get the car. I couldn’t make it back. And though I knew my son’s pain on an intellectual level, I was finally faced with a small portion of what he felt every day for ten years, what he would have always felt.

Instead of seeing a doctor about this sudden and inexplicable pain in my foot, I bore it knowingly. Purposely. It was my penance for getting it all wrong. I wanted to feel his pain. I deserved it. I owed it to him. I know–kind of sick. Terribly sad. I don’t care. It made me feel better somehow. Not just penance, but solidarity. I understood the draw of flagellants to the whip, the Albino monk in the DaVinci Code and his cilice.

I do have an aversion to seeking assistance when I’m in pain. I always have. It is partially because I have such a high tolerance for it, and things have to be really bad before I truly feel it enough to seek help. It drives my kids mad. But it’s also because I see myself as tough, able to take it. And I am. A point of pride. I’m also aware of just how insane that is.

This time, I wanted the pain. And I’ll admit that out loud now that it’s mostly gone and no one can make me go to a doctor. I was in no mortal danger, so it’s not like I was risking my life or anything. I don’t advocate this sort of thing. If any of my kids were doing it, I’d be a wreck. Funny, how that works, right?




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6 responses to “I wear his slippers, every day.

  1. I get it! I feel the emotion, and I think on some level I connect with your need to do penance. This may be something every parent feels a little bit of at some point in their children’s lives. However, my friend, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone more connected to their children, more willing to do everything to help, more wanting to ease the trials life puts in everyone’s journey through life. I hope those slippers make you feel that you did everything just as it needed to be done, that you loved deeply,that you cared lovingly and could not have done more! I think each of your children have a strong sense of your love!


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      (((Beverly))) Thank you, my friend.
      I know I did my best, and I did all I could and never gave up, but the sad fact is, I didn’t do the RIGHT things. Looking back, I see all the wrong turns I made with the best of intentions and all the love in my heart.

      Anyway, thank you for all your sweet, kind words.


  2. I wish you could put the slippers on to ease your pain and feel close to Chris and NOT feel the need for penance. But I understand it even though I don’t agree with it. Human emotions are what they are and we need them and we feel them for a reason. I hope all your pain eases ❤


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      It comes and goes, Deb. But the pain in my foot is gone, and I wear the slippers mostly to feel HIM. and to keep my tootsies warm. Thanks, love.


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