A few weeks ago my mother was lowered into her final resting place of the EverGreen Memorial Park. My three siblings and I surrounded the hollowed burial place to mourn her passing. As I stood there with glass tears in my eyes, my mind filled with the bittersweet memories that still held images of my mother—her presence, her voice, her hugs, kisses, her love.
After the somber ceremony we went to my mother’s home. She hadn’t moved since we all lived together decades ago. Reluctantly, we walked into the house. None of us wanted to be there, but mom left some loose ends and we couldn’t decide who would be the one to tie them, so we all decided to work together. The house looked as if it was vacant for months—no dishes in the sink, brown house plants, stack of newspapers sitting on the coffee table. None of us were ever really good with keep up with her, so mom’s illness came as a total surprise for us. In some semblance of respect for her, we pooled money together to hire home care nurses to watch her. Some of us—two of us, came to visit on a monthly bases. Her passing was still a surprise, however. We separated and each took a room to complete. The emotions flowed heavily as we sorted and collected forgotten memories of our lives—joys, disappointments, successes and regrets.
By the time we were done going through all the things that once mattered, the feeling of a life long lived seemed to flow about. It was her home. It was our home. Even though she’s gone, It will always feel like our home. We all lived most of our lives there. Some of us grew up, left, returned and left again. Our very beings were forged within those walls. As we gathered in the black SUV, still shedding our tears, our hearts were full. But grief took us in waves. I sat in the passenger seat, watching our home shrink away on the horizon and I smiled through the grief. I smiled as the happiness followed us from behind.
Credit to Jae Davis, as Editor of this story.
This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in January 2021 (C)