My Mother’s Grave
I am not sure of why, but my mind does this weird thing where it doesn’t let me process hurt immediately. Instead, the hurt just lays low for a few days or weeks, just under my skin where I know it’s there but simply cannot feel it just yet. Then, out of the blue, it’s like my mind lets me tap into the hurt for a short time before it pushes it back down again.
While we were down South, my brother took me to go and see my mom’s grave. Talk about hard. When we pulled up to the site, I immediately recognized her head stone’s unique pink color and it’s tall cross shape. I walked up to it making sure I kept my emotions in check because I would have to get back in the car where my nieces were waiting. I could barely make myself read what it said, as if somehow I could change the fact that her name even had a reason to be on a tomb stone. Not my mother. Yet, there she was, her name etched in stone forever.
I stared at the cold, hard stone and found myself focusing on the most insignificant issues. For instance, there was a collection of fine, red Mississippi dust at the base of the head stone. I fell onto my knees and started trying to brush the dirt away through my tears. A weed was trying to grow alongside the base of the stone and I found myself angrily pulling it up. How dare a weed think it is worthy of growing anywhere near my mother? I leaned against the stone and pressed my face to it, trying my best to get that final good-bye hug that I didn’t get to give. I whispered to my mom about how sorry I am that I couldn’t be there for her as she fought her last battles. Somewhere deep inside of me, I feel that she tried her best to hold on just a little bit longer so that I could have my baby and get down to see her, but her body wouldn’t let her. I stood up and began to walk away with my brother by my side. A few times, I found myself turning to go back to her grave again. I am not sure what I was hoping, but all I knew was that it was the first time that I had a chance to be so physically close to her again. Instead, I turned and walked back to the truck. My brother knew better than to hug me or else I would have completely broken down and cried all of the hurt I felt inside of me.
I can’t imagine how hard it must have been on her to know that she would not get to see her only daughter before passing away. Now that I am a mother, I know that the single worst thing than dying is not being able to say good-bye to my child before passing away. It makes my heart ache just thinking about it.
At the reunion, there was a huge silence where my Mother should have been. Instead of Mom, my aunts held and fussed over her grandchild. Instead of her, my aunt carried him around and showed him off. The other daughters were pulled into conversations by their mothers, my Aunts, while I sat alone with Nathan, listening to familiar voices in a unfamiliar song because my Mother’s was not among them.
There are times that I feel scared that I will forget the sound of her voice and her laugh. I had really only just begun to really hear her in the last few years since having my Cochlear Implant surgery. Then, out of the blue, I will have dreams at night and hear her voice once again, and I am comforted by it. I pray each night for one more dream with her in it just so I can be surrounded in the familiar comfort of my Mother. Waking up though is bittersweet. For those brief moments in my dreams, I can relive my world as it should have been, with a healthy Mother and all of the comforting things that go along with having a Mom around. Then I wake up and the warmth fades away like morning fog, leaving me aching where the happiness just was.
After the reunion, I just wanted to go home with her. I wanted to lay on the couch and rest my head on her shoulder like I used to do. I wanted to talk to her about being a mom and her experiences as a mom and see if our stories are similar or not. There are so many times when I really need a soft place to fall after experiencing some of the harder trials of motherhood or even marriage and I have no one to turn to. I wanted to see her hold my son and talk to him like she used to do to me when I was a baby.
Instead, I think of her and my mind flashes picture of the Angel figurine that my Aunt left at her grave. Under the figurine, she wrote the words, “I miss you.” The image, like her grave stone, is a cold, solid reminder that my mom is gone and she is not coming back. I close my eyes and whisper to her, “I miss you, Momma. And I love you very, very much.” I would not leave the message on an angel figurine. I would leave instead a little heart, because part of mine will always be with her no matter where I go.