in a front yard in south carolina . march 2009
last night, i was thinking about how you asked your daughter to bring you the other picture. not the one sitting in your room from the mid-nineties; the one i love; the one where you two are sitting with your rounded middles, hats people in their seventies wear upon your heads, and the sun in your eyes as you look right at me as i snap. no. you wanted the other one. the one where you sit side by side on the cusp of a life together. the one where you look like movie stars to these eyes of mine that never knew you then. you wanted to look at the woman you fell in love with.
when your daughter would call daily to check in and ask what you had been up to, sometimes you would say, "oh i'm just talking to her again."
i think of you in that little room i never saw, the little room that became your whole life for your last few months. i think of you looking at that photo of her with her eyes a-twinkle with all that is to come. i think of you sharing words you never told her when you could have.
i hear you asking me to tell her how much you love her as though my saying it aloud on a day in april in 2005 before a small family grieving would make it more real. as though she would hear me when she couldn't perhaps wouldn't hear you.
i wonder about what photograph i will want next to me in a room that will be my last room. what photo will i want to talk to and sit in the quiet next to hoping for any whisper of a response.
we are in the midst of this new bridge in the middle of spring. this bridge of a bit more than two weeks in length that walks from his death to hers. i think about this day five years ago when they said she was in the hospital but i shouldn't come just yet. even though the weekend i spent at my yoga training gifted me many insights then, the heart inside this chest wishes i could blink and find myself saying to my mother, "i think i will just move the ticket up to sunday. i am just going to go. i will meet you there."
and i would rent a car at the little airport near their home and stop to get flowers and something to read aloud to her. and i would not worry about what i had packed or the training i was missing for a new freelance job or what was going to happen if she didn't make it or how annoyed she was going to be with me when i walked into her room. i would just drive to the hospital. i would just drive to the hospital and hold her hand. and she would still be breathing.
i remember thinking spring was laughing at us as her outward flashy colors seemed to mock our grey, lost faces. but then i walked outside to the brick patio and remembered how much she loved this time of year. her favorite time, when mother nature unfurled her very best in the form of azaleas, dogwood, redbud, tulips, forsythia, and how the list goes on. when we drove to the funeral home, i looked out the window at all the colors arching toward the sun...knowing if she was here, she would not be able to stop herself from commenting on how they all seemed to bloom at once that year.
and they did.
while my heart was breaking solidly in two, every shoot of green stood almost at attention in a way she would have loved.
and i am guessing, five years later, those reaching toward the sky blooms are doing it again in south carolina. although neither of them is there, although i am not there, to witness. spring is dancing with her arms outstretched toward all that is to come in the next minute, day, week.
in my corner, spring continues her slower dance, each week unveiling a new bloom, a new bud, a new green shoot peeking out. and this quiet swaying brings another bridge toward the arrival of another soul who will change my life forever, break my heart, and mend it with every breath.
in this moment, how i wish you were here to witness all that is to come.