Nine years have passed since I last saw my dad alive. When I left his house that day, I knew I would never see him again. My soul actually hurt. My soul hurts again today. It’s raw, like it was that day. That’s when I did my mourning. When I knew I’d never see him again. I miss him everyday of course, but today…today, the feeling of loss is almost overwhelming. I know I won’t feel like this everyday, but for now the intensity of how much I miss him burns white hot.
Early this morning as I walked outside, the slightly humid breeze seemed to transport me, just for the briefest instant, back about 45 years. The sunshine and the smell of the air landed me square in our backyard on Anita Drive. The thing is, I really felt for that blink of an eye, that I was actually there.
It was the beginning of the seemingly endless summer vacation. Long days spent playing with neighborhood friends, riding our bikes, swimming in the neighbor’s pool, or just making mud pies. Laundry was on the line.The grownups sat in the metal “S” chairs, smoking Chesterfield no-filters and visiting. The garden was beginning to bloom.
For one fleeting moment, I was once again the little girl in the yellow dress, and the young man was tending the garden.
Two gardenias. Two gardenias with blue ribbon. Two gardenias with blue ribbon were delivered. Two gardenias with blue ribbon were delivered the day before she died. Two gardenias with blue ribbon were delivered the day before she died, and now she wears them forever.