Core It’s mother’s day. The cemetery is busy. I think they are planning some sort of event today. I’m not sure why I felt like I needed to come today, but I am glad that i did.
I saw a little pack of big red gum in the junk drawer this morning. It brought back a quick flashback of when i was little. I always remember your dark brown, tall dresser. Stacked on top was a pack of big red gum, Kool smokes, spare change, a worn wallet, and your silver Seiko watch. your room 25 years later is still crystal clear in my mind. The tattered pink ribbon tied to your bedpost. The one you liked to cling to when you got anxious at night. Your thick brown belt. The old spice in your bathroom. Your red close up toothpaste.
I think about your mom. Grandma Martha. I have few memories of her. A couple Christmases here and there. Klondike bars in the downstairs freezer. Pink plastic chairs we got for Christmas one year. Wandering down the halls of Potomac point nursing home after she was confused and broke her hip. I don’t know how old she was when she died. But I was just in second grade, so I think you must have been just a bit younger than me when you lost your mom. I wonder why you didn’t tell me more stories about her. I know you loved her fried chicken. You told me many times how one summer you came home from college to find she had sold your prized mustang and boat. But that’s all I really know.
I think about my mom. How much I love her. How much you loved her. Even though you bickered and fought and yelled. You loved her unconditionally. I don’t think I really saw it when I was younger. I thought you were selfish and mean and not nice enough for her. But now that you are gone I really see all the all the things you did for her and all the ways you showed her you loved her. It makes me proud to know that I came from a family with a love like that. It kind of makes me sad to know it’s something I will never have. Not that I don’t have a loving family, but the pure, unconditional, unrelenting, eternal love that you and mom had is so special. It’s one in a million.
It’s really getting busy here. All the children visiting their moms. I cringe inside when I think of the day I will have to visit you both here. The only palpable evidence of your presence the cold cement stone behind my back.
I hope I am doing it right. I hope I am making you proud. I hope that my own kids will grow up and carry a small piece of you. Be able to love like you loved. Even though it was sometimes hard for you to express. Thank you for being my dad and thank you for loving my mom and raising us together with her.
I look at the grass every time I am here. It reminds me of the seasons of life. A year and a half ago it was grass, then mud and seeds and then new grass that has already grown in and died and is now browning in the hot sun. It reminds me that life is short. That what was here yesterday is not here today. That tomorrow is not guaranteed and that things are never too late to change.
So I get up and I go. I know you wouldn’t like me spending too much time here. I have new life to grow, seeds to cultivate. Seasons to share.