When the sun comes up and the rest of the house is still, I will slip away. I will make the quarter mile trip that will seem like it takes an hour. Two turns will bring me around to where I will park under the reaching, shady branches of a huge pine tree.
Sitting in the driver’s seat with the air conditioning caressing my face, a tear will slip down my cheek. My hand will turn off the ignition without my noticing. My other hand will open the door, but my foot will not instinctively reach for the ground. I have to force it to move off of the mat.
Standing beside the truck, I realize I have cut flowers in my hand, but I won’t remember taking them off of the passenger seat. From where I stand, I can see the only pink marble which graces the hill. It takes effort to pull myself up to it.
Although there will only be 45 seconds pass as I gaze at the angel engraved on the marble, a soft pink mottled with grey and black speckles, the time will crawl into what seems to be hours. Reflex will have me kneel beside the stone to wipe away stray leaves, pine needles and dried petals. A tear will splash on the back of my hand before I notice I am audibly crying.
I will turn the vase upright. There is a pair of scissors in my pocket. How did those get there? fleets across my mind. I will place the cut stems onto the cellophane which swaddled the flowers. My own voice, faint and quavering, registers in my ears. “I wish you could have stayed. Your sister would love to be playing with you, and your brother’s hair is the exact color of yours. Daddy had your picture on his visor, and he always knew you are watching over him until he went to be with you.”
The flowers smell sweet, and the petals are so fragile. “I miss you, my tiniest angel. You have been gone for more than six years, but it seems like only yesterday I held you in my arms. Just like it says here, you were our light in our darkest hour. I will always love you.”
Standing once again, I see the flowers so stark against the cold of the stone. I blow a kiss and wander, eyes closed tight against the tears, back to the truck. Before I can focus again, I am back in the driveway, head resting on the steering wheel. Would that I could wipe away the pain with the tears.
Happy Mother’s Day to all those who are without their children today. May you find an inner peace.