My name is etched on the back of my mother's headstone.
It feels strange to have it there, staring back at me, the A in the middle capitalized like it's supposed to be.
What I hate more, though, is her name on the front. The fact that she is gone.
I miss her.
Today I miss that I am not there to cut lilacs from the lilac bush or arrange peonies in the tin cans my grandfather has saved for today. I miss that I'm not there, filling a bucket with water, carrying it to the gravesides of my grandmother, my great-aunt Donna, my Mom, and watering the pots of mums we bought in every color. I always put the white ones on my mother's grave, because she loved daisies. Dad takes a scrub brush and washes the bird droppings from the headstones. He starts with my mother's and then moves to his mother's and then down the row to relatives I don't know, the ones without flowers--without loved ones nearby enough to come and remember. He washes the big family marker that my kids like to climb on. We stare off into the distance at the mountains. We don't say much. No one does.
I know just how it will be there, at the cemetery, without me. What will be said and what unsaid. I know my mother is not there. That it's a long way to go and an impossible weekend to have gone. Still, though, I'm caught off guard today by the way my heart is tugged West--away from here. I'm caught off guard by the heaviness of the air here, how much missing hurts, and the tight lump rising in my throat.