Yesterday, you would’ve been forty eight years old.
I was driving into my driveway, coming home from Trader Joe’s, when I thought of you–how you’d look today, how you’d act, and what our family would do to celebrate your special birthday. My eyes welled up with tears, but before I could really sink into that feeling of missing you, my car was parked, and it was time to unload the groceries.
So instead of going to a birthday dinner or some kind of gathering, to remember you, Chris, Everett and I went to the cemetery. We sat on the grass, right above your plot, and watched the ducks in the pond straight out ahead. Everett snacked on his dinner; it was kind of like a weird picnic. But it was so beautiful outside. The temperature was in the low 70’s, and the grass and sky were vibrant in their colors.
It is the one place in this world where I can just sit and…forget about it all.
I couldn’t believe how close Everett felt to you. I know it’s just your body down under that spot of earth, but still. When I saw him sway his feet in the grass, feeling the texture of it on his toes, I thought of my favorite book, Leaves of Grass and the part where Whitman writes:
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again, look for me under your boot soles.
I read that book in college and kept it on my nightstand for years. Those lines always spoke to me: you are now a part of that grass–you are now a part of everything, all knowing and everywhere at once.
But on a day like yesterday, I could’ve used you in one place at one time, and that would be here with your family.
After the three of us sat for awhile, we went to feed the swans under the gazebo. Oddly enough, you and Nana used to take me there when I was a little girl. I can honestly remember throwing white Wonder bread into the water and watching the swans swim in circles, fighting to get a piece.
How beautifully and utterly unaware that small girl must’ve been, of what that place would represent in her adult years.
The one swan kept trying to bite Chris’ feet and we had a good laugh. I know he was trying to lighten the mood for me, and I appreciated his efforts–repeatedly sticking his tennis shoes out so the swan would snap at it, saying, “Look Pum!”
Everett hasn’t been feeling too good, so once he had enough, we left.
As I opened the car door, I looked back down the hill at your spot by the willow tree and pond and said I love you Mom. I hope you heard me.