The metallic smell of impending rain mingling with a distinct hint of honeysuckle reminds me that it’s the first day of spring. Stepping out of my car, onto the curb, an almost tangible sensation arrests my heart. My mother’s grave, the one I haven’t seen since we buried her a year ago, lies no more than a hundred yards away. Her favorite flowers waiting on the passenger’s seat, fighting the urge to stop, I keep going though distress grips me; I must. After grabbing the tiger lily’s, and letting up the driver’s seat to retrieve my rain jacket from the back, I throw the jacket on pulling the hood over my head just in case. The thought of the 100 yard walk looming in my mind, I close and lock the doors behind me. One can never be too safe. Despite the fact that my feet feel as though they’ve been replaced by cinder blocks, I step onto the grass and begin making my way to my mother’s grave. With every step I take, a memory comes flashing back to me of: the nights my mom comforted me, her reading me to sleep when I was a little girl, staying up eating popcorn and playing games as a family: mama, dad, my little sister and me, my stormy teenage years, the mornings I’d hear her praying for us, then came the trips to the hospital following the times she lay in bed claiming she was going through a healing -all the while she was dying.
Now I’m at the grave, every fiber of my being so raked with anger that I can barely speak. But I have to. I’ve come so far to say these things. “I’m mad at you!” I scream, throwing the flowers down to her grave. “Why did you have to leave me? You are supposed to be here! You didn’t even see me graduate from college. You know how I struggled through. Dad has already remarried. I feel so alone. You loved God so much! You trusted Him…said He’d heal you, said He’d take care of us and -forgive me; please forgive me. I’m mad at Him too! You know how much I need you. I miss you; why did you have to go? When you left, I was the one that had to cook and clean and take care of our home. I even started fussing the way you used to.” Remembering how mama would walk around the kitchen fussing about a mess we made as she cleaned it up anyway, I can’t help but chuckle a little as a smile forces up the corners of my lips.
Wiping the tears from my eyes I continue, “I just want you back. I miss you. I don’t know what to do without you. After I graduated from Spellman, I didn’t pass the Praxis exam this past winter so I just went back to my job at Nordstrom full time. I’m making enough money so I moved out into my own place when Dad got remarried. I think you’d like her. I don’t like her because she’s not you. So much has happened since we last spoke. Happy Birthday Mama. I…” as I try to speak more, the tears come uncontrollably. I crumple to my knees, hands to my face and allow the sobbing to overtake me.