She pauses every time she drives by the field with the sad, abandoned house. Something about the scene causes her to wonder if she has ever been inside the little house or played in the flower strewn yard. Perhaps she visited this place when she was very young and she cannot quite remember who lived there; but that would be impossible because she did not grow up in Georgia. It could be that she recalls an indelibly haunting painting she once saw years ago of a girl on the ground in a field, with her head pointing and her hand reaching and her legs dragging toward a house in the distance which has to be her home. Maybe it’s simply because something about this spot perfectly frames an emotion she cannot quite access. Today, as she drives by she becomes the girl in the painting, suddenly plunked down in the field of yellow.
What a spring this has been and today is the most lovely of all. The temperature is perfect and everything is in bloom. Capture this moment, I think, soak it all in. If I could pick a spot of total freedom, it would be a field like this, a wild, twirl-around field of yellow flowers. I am happy – until I am not. Something heavy washes over me and pushes me down. I am alone. I can finally feel what I feel. Tears come. My mother is dead.
I’ve been busy and I’ve been brave and she was sick for a long, long time. She was so tired and so frail and so confused. I actually asked God on more than one occassion to take her home. He answered my prayer so why do I cry? I haven’t really been able to talk with her for years though I did get glimpses of her from time to time. I cry. Now I can never pick up the phone and call her again.
“She lived a good long life,” people say. She did and I know that. It’s a comfort. I cry. I think about the time my grandmother told me that losing her mother was the hardest thing she ever faced. I’ve heard that from other people too. I cry. Up until now I didn’t know what it was like to loose your mother or how to comfort a freind whose mother died. I still don’t.
Jesus looked down from the cross at his mother and asked John to care of her. I look up from my field of yellow flowers and ask Jesus to care for my mother. I look towards the house in the distance and try to get up. I reach for a home that no one lives in anymore.