I visit her once a year.
I come with my pain, my grief — grief I pass onto her, grief she coaches me through, grief she silently bears.
I come with gifts — the flowers she wanted three years ago, the flowers I couldn’t afford.
I walk up to her, afraid. I haven’t seen her in a year. I feel her everyday but I haven’t knelt before her in a year.
This seems blasphemous. I stand before her afraid.
I drop to my knees, my hands reach out for her but touch the large, ornate stone that adorns her final resting place.
A sigh escapes me. I apologize for my sins, then silence.
I wait for a response I know I will not receive.
My hand slides over her date of birth, over the day she left me.
I apologize for more sins — all of the things I’ve done, the things she wouldn’t approve of.
I want forgiveness for my mistakes, redemption for my humanity as I kneel before a flawed woman who was, somehow, the closest I’ve ever been to god
I cry. I ask for her approval. It’s been three years. I still need her approval.
Say something, I need a sign.
Let me know you’re proud of me. Tell me you’re okay with who I have become, who I am becoming.
She’s not here.
Then, the wind blows a little harder. The sun becomes brighter.
Her arms wrap around me. I am warmed by her light.
Her hands blow across my face. My eyes are dried.
She brushes my hair back, she cups my chin in her hand.
I rise. She sends me on my way.
See you next year.