She was too young; she didn’t deserve to die.
Even though my mind spoke the truth, it didn’t make it feel any better. I found myself angry that she was so violently taken from the world.
My mother was my entire world. When I lost her, my world went dark. Nothing was ever the same again.
I pulled into the parking lot, easing into the closest space. Climbing out, I felt a breeze of cold air blow past me. I tightened my arms around my body, shivering uncontrollably. After closing my door with a slight slam, I began heading towards my usual spot. I kept to myself as I passed an elderly woman on a bench, but she didn’t hesitate capturing my attention.
She pointed her finger at the river before us, “isn’t it beautiful?”
I nodded slowly, “do you come here much?”
“Every day,” she replied with a smile. “How about you? You out here all by yourself?”
“My mother…” I trailed off; but one glance at the woman proved she understood what I was about to say.
Her expression was full of pity as she motioned for me to join her on the bench where she was seated. Without hesitation, I planted myself beside her.
She didn’t pressure me to speak about what had happened. I never even mentioned that I had scattered my mother’s remains in the river before us. But she had convinced me she had a sixth sense with what she said next.
She spoke to me about how rivers flow into the ocean and that my mother was not trapped in this tiny river. She told me that my mother would be free to roam any river or ocean she chose.
I smiled, realizing she had just about read my thoughts.
“Do you think my mother has already been reborn?” I asked, pondering the idea.
“What did she want to be reborn as?”
“A fish,” I answered with a laugh.
“Well I suppose so.”
I thanked her for her hospitality and kindness and then continued on my way. As I reached the familiar jagged rock, I sat quickly, staring out into the river. Baby fish were jumping out of the water right before my eyes. My mom could be any of those. I stood by the river, feeling almost overwhelmed as I tried to grasp the concept of never seeing my mother again.
I bowed to the river, knowing it was time. “Goodbye,” I whispered as I ran my hand through the endless water in front of me. I had been coming here since I was a child; today would be my last day. The wind ruffled my hair as I sighed. I was sure going to miss this. I wrapped my arms around my waist; my dark skin raising bumps all over. “I love you,” I said before standing up slowly and walking away. I had just let my mother go, and for the first time as though I would be okay.