“You look just like your mama.”
“Jesus, you look like Keel!”
“Baby, you look just like her. You talk like her and you act like her.”
“That’s her baby girl right there.”
By this time one year ago today, we had committed my mother’s body to its final resting place. The funeral itself was not the way she would have wanted it because there was so much sadness. She wouldn’t have wanted us to be sad. She would have wanted us to have church — a good old-fashioned COGIC service. We tried, we really did. My cousins sang beautifully, the deacon from her church sang beautifully, and our family choir did a magnificent job, but the air was so very heavy. I know a lot of people won’t understand what I mean when I say she would have wanted us to have church at her funeral, but Mama loved church and spent the large majority of her time there was she was able to drive and service was always lively.
On October 31, 2015, though, there was just sadness. My cousin, Walter, eulogized her, and while he is always, always in control, even he had a hard time holding it together that day. If you had not known who her children were that day, you wouldn’t have been able to tell by the reactions of some of the people in attendance. So many people loved her just as they did their own mother. We expected more people to get up and speak, but about 10 people came to us after the service and said they just couldn’t bare to speak. Even more called or came by and apologized for not coming, but explained that they just couldn’t handle seeing her in a casket.
It had started to rain before the service was over and we knew going to the cemetery was going to be harder than it would have been under normal circumstances because of the location of her grave and the mud. My cousin asked if we should do the final commitment in church and we agreed. By the time we made it to the gravesite, it had started to drizzle and my most immediate thought was that I didn’t want to leave my mama out there in the rain. She was always cold and I couldn’t help but wonder if she would be cold once she was in the ground. I know that sounds like childish foolishness, but that’s where my mind was that day. I didn’t want her cold or wet. I didn’t want to leave her at the cemetery.
I’m struggling today. I’m having a harder time today than I did on October 24th. Today marked the one-year anniversary of the last time I saw my mother. Asleep she may have been, but I saw her. My heart may never heal.