The Woes of Mrs. Weasley
A mother’s burden
Mrs. Weasley was grieving for the loss of her sons, but in her own way.
Much of her grief began with busying herself, but this, of course, was just a form of living in denial, or avoiding the inevitable. Her grief also included lots of long talks with her beloved husband, lots of recalled memories, lots of comforting, and many long, private cries. But Mrs. Weasley was a strong woman, and not a woman whose grief would add to or interfere with those of whom she was taking care. And these days her concern was quite a load.
George, her only son of six left living at home now, was grieving in a way no one else could quite understand. Even Mrs. Weasley did not understand her son’s grief. He had lost his twin – someone with whom he’d spent every moment of his entire life, someone with whom he had had a special connection that no one else had. Fred and George had practically been able to read each other’s minds, and at times Mrs. Weasley thought that perhaps they even spoke their own language.
But George had not been her normal, joking son ever since the final war had ended. In fact, his grieving had begun a few days before Mr. Weasley had owled. George seemed to have known. Mrs. Weasley wondered if there had been some connection, something shared between twins, so that the one knew, or felt, that the other had died. George had known. She could swear that he had known it the moment Fred had been killed.
Now George was still the chief instigator of any humor they found in the Burrow these days, but nonetheless he was often reflective, contemplative, and even at times, lonely. He had lost his best mate and true blood brother. And that wasn’t all he had lost; still he was grieving the deaths of two other brothers he loved dearly, though he often had teased them mercilessly. Mrs. Weasley wondered if this thought plagued George in the aftermath of his brother’s deaths.
But also under Mrs. Weasley’s care was of course her dear baby girl, her only daughter. She knew that Ginny was suffering the loss of her brothers, as only a sister can know, and especially as the sole girl of the entire clan of children. Because she’d been closest in age with Ron, Mrs. Weasley knew she’d had a special connection with him, even though at times it had held its own roughness. Still, Ginny had grown up with Ron as her closest playmate, and now she was struggling to cope with his absence.
But she had also had an extreme fondness for Fred and George. Mrs. Weasley couldn’t help but see her resemblance to her twin bothers. Ginny often acted more like them than any of her other brothers. But now Fred was gone. Mrs. Weasley mused whether, if some day, after they’d taken their time grieving and healing, if Ginny would become George’s mischief mate. Mrs. Weasley sighed sadly at the thought of her missing son.
But the list of lost brothers was still not over. Charlie had always had quite an older-brotherly way about him with his baby sister, and now the job was left solely up to Bill and George. Ginny had gone from having six big brothers to having only two, one of whom was rarely around. Mrs. Weasley had no doubt that from this day forward, Ginny and George would be extremely close. Mrs. Weasley had rarely ever before seen George comforting Ginny – that job usually fell to Bill or Charlie. But now, George was often the first to allow Ginny to bury her tears into his protective embrace, in the form of a huge hug.
But these losses were not all Ginny was grieving. She had also lost Harry. Mrs. Weasley, as most mothers, was never blinded and had known since Ginny was ten years old that she had fancied the famous Harry Potter – the curious acting, Muggle-like, black haired, green-eyed boy with the funny scar on his head who’d approached them needing help finding Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Mrs. Weasley had also heard from different sources spending time in her house, that finally Harry had returned Ginny’s long unrequited love for him.
But she’d also heard that Harry had found it necessary to break this relationship during Dumbledore’s funeral. Mrs. Weasley had been proud of Harry’s very responsible and adult decision, and would forever be grateful that Harry had not been blinded by a school-boy’s crush, that he hadn’t taken Mrs. Weasley’s baby girl off into the deadly battle, a battle from which she was quite sure Ginny would not have returned. Perhaps some time would be the right time to tell Harry her thanks, but, then again, perhaps there never would be a right time.
Nonetheless, Mrs. Weasley, with her motherly knowledge that all mothers seem to posses, knew that Ginny had been hoping and waiting for the day when Harry would return, the full fledged hero and savior, wrap Ginny into a huge hug, snog her senseless, and confess his undying love for her, before proposing in front of the whole family and insisting they marry immediately. Mrs. Weasley smiled faintly to herself. Contrary to what all her children thought, Mrs. Weasley was not too old to remember the act of being “snogged senseless,” and knew that at some point her children had or would participate in such an act. She would rather not have to watch it or picture it, but being a female herself, she knew this must have been on Ginny’s mind.
But this was so completely far from what actually happened.
Harry had returned to the Burrow as a different person from the Harry who had left. Gone was the Harry that Ginny had fallen in love with. Once he had been an almost-care-free, brave, courageous boy wizard who was constantly taking adventures, if not also getting into trouble. He laughed, he schemed, and he enamoured those around him with what could only be called ‘the way of Harry.’ But, returned from battle, Harry entered the Burrow as a man, no longer a boy or even a mere Hogwarts graduate; he was a scarred man, with few smiles or laughs to offer, and he was no longer insistent upon scheming up risky plans and racing off into the adventures he could conjure up. It was hard to describe him these days, because his change was so great, and his withdrawal so intense.
Mrs. Weasley knew that a union between Harry and Ginny would never happen now, no matter how much she would’ve loved to have Harry officially join her family. No matter how much Ginny loved him, it was impossible. Ginny could never comprehend all that was now Harry. Mrs. Weasley couldn’t fathom it, so certainly neither could her sweet, protected, cared-for Ginny. Harry was in fact quite often unreachable. This brought Mrs. Weasley to the next numbers on her list of those of whom she was caring for.
Harry and Hermione. This is where Mrs. Weasley felt most at a loss. The best approach Mrs. Weasley could take to attempt to understand these two precious souls was to remember the old days, when Voldemort had reigned, and times were so difficult. Harry and Hermione had lived through the worst thing she could imagine, and that could only be described with images of Voldemort’s killings and reign of terror. Mrs. Weasley couldn’t help watching these two friends in their struggle to cope, their struggle to grieve, and their struggle to move on. She was not unaware of their nightly terrors – nightmares which at times would produce screams that could even be heard in Mr. and Mrs. Weasley’s bedroom. And nor was she unaware of their habit of comforting one another, and of somehow always waking up in the same bed together. Who else could understand the images and sounds that must be haunting their sleep? Mrs. Weasley had tried giving them different potions, but still the night terrors came.
Upon first discovering Harry and Hermione sharing a bed, Mrs. Weasley had been quite startled. She couldn’t decide the best course of action. Should she scold them as she normally would if she found any child of hers in a bed with a member of the opposite sex? But there they were, merely sleeping, fully dressed, and attempting to hide from the evils that dreaming brought. The problem was – it wasn’t like any normal situation. And Mrs. Weasley was also quite sure she hadn’t noticed any romanticism between these two. In fact, Hermione had been quite in love with Ron. Mrs. Weasley had not been oblivious to this. She could only imagine what Hermione and Harry were feeling at the loss of their best friend.
Mrs. Weasley wiped a tear from her eye, surprised at herself for tearing up over Harry and Hermione’s loss. But it was her own loss as well. Mrs. Weasley sighed. Whatever would she do with Harry and Hermione?
Mrs. Weasley’s own children were grieving and hurting. She hurt with them, and cared for them, and she also knew somehow their family would recover. They’d lean on each other, and help each other through this, even if she now had no idea how that would happen. But for Harry and Hermione – they had no family, and Mrs. Weasley had a feeling that they felt very alone. They alone had seen the horrors of their friends, classmates, teachers, and mentors dying. The world’s fate had rested upon their shoulders. And now they seemed lost. Mrs. Weasley and her family were all grieving, but even if they all had their full attention on Harry and Hermione, trying to help them – she knew they couldn’t understand. George and Ginny knew nothing of the war. She and Mr. Weasley knew nothing of the intimacy of their friendships, and the loss they felt.
Mrs. Weasley brushed away another tear. How could she possibly pull them out of their shell-shocked state? Had they accepted what had happened? Were they in denial? Had they cried or screamed or yelled or swore?
But she knew they cried. Their cries were hidden in one another, while their dry eyes met the world around them. Neither Mr. Weasley, nor herself, nor Ginny, nor George were trusted with the tears, the agony, and the despair. They were no longer privy to their anguish. Perhaps they felt it too great a burden to rest upon this family’s shoulders, this family who had lost so much.
And with that thought, Mrs. Weasley collapsed in her bedroom chair, weeping for her family’s loss and for the devastated lives of Harry and Hermione…