Sometimes I think about it. Really think about it. Right here. Right now. My mother is dead. The thought sucks the air out of my lungs. It chokes in my throat. She's gone.
I can't call her. She doesn't answer when I do. When I call her, I have a nervousness in my stomach. What if she answered? What if somebody else answered? What if the phone company gave her number to someone else. They could take it away from me- they could give her number to a stranger who would have no idea what that number was to me. A hotline to heaven.
God, mama, please answer the phone.
I ride past her apartment. Her car is not there. It's in my front yard with a FOR SALE sign in the windshield. Someone else is parked in her spot. Another family occupies the place that holds the last memories I have of my mother. Saturday visits, new recipes we cooked together, a place for my children to spend the night. The last walk through I did of her apartment before we packed all of her things in a U-Haul. Everything just as she had left it. Except it wasn't. It was cold.
Now when I go visit my mama I sit on the ground- uneven because the grass hasn't grown back yet. I lean my head on her stone engraved with lyrics from her favorite hymn. Beulah Land. She's in her Beulah Land. She's left me behind.
I don't visit her grave as much as I like. It is cold and empty there. I don't feel her there. I feel her on my first day back to college, holding my hand as I walk to my first class. Telling me to breathe deep, it's ok, I can do this. I hear her in my children's laughter and smell her from time to time. She wore the same perfume for years. I smell it and it stops me in my tracks.
I smell her and she's here again.