Saturday, May 16, 2015


     Yesterday was my mother's birthday, and like each of the last 5 out of 6 birthdays since she died, my sister, brother and I have swooped into town to be with her. The first one after her death, my sister went without us, life and work being uncooperative. I vowed she'd never have to do that again.  I had already let her down once when she agreed to be present to see mom just before she was cremated. I couldn't do it, couldn't see mom in that place - but she had made us swear that someone would see her one last time to ensure she was really dead before the crematorium door descended.  We're a slightly odd family, I'll give you that.  When the time came, my sister went, confirmed that mom was truly gone.  After those two betrayals, I will not allow myself a third strike.
     My father was in the Navy, and we moved around a bit.  When we finally landed back in PA, my mother's childhood home where our grandfather still lived, our mom would regularly take us to the cemetery to pay our respects to the family there, to acknowledge our past.  It was completely normal to incorporate that into all our regular chores and errands. It's a comfortable place on a hill with a pond nearby, so when you're quiet you can hear the loons.  The bugs eat you alive, and we make jokes about it that many would consider morbid, but I already told you we're a smidge odd.
     We talk to mom, plant flowers, go over the year's events. It has unfortunately become the only time I get to see my brother as of late, but it is necessary and right to have our rituals.  I don't bring the kids, because this is our time, just the three of us, with her.  Our little square with the broken side since she's gone.  It was always the four of us against the world, and the world is closing in.  I sometimes imagine what I'll look like when I'm in my 60's and visiting her, whether the local flower stand will still be here, how our talk will go, this necessary connection to my existence.

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