Thanksgiving Ritual

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.

Another sigh.

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.

Nothing. Silence.

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.

She’s here.

I rise. She sends me on my way.

See you next year.


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