Everything of this day is as yesterday and tomorrow. It is scorching, dry, and brittle. Birds eat at the feeders and the lake rests between its shores just like yesterday and tomorrow.
But it is different in that it is a day that has anticipated for months. A day that has been known by the marks on the calendar. Since its planned choosing, this day has been thought of a few times, but mostly it has been tucked away to be avoided. Now, however, like several other days of distinction in life, it must be experienced in a self-chosen manner of respect, sadness, grief, remorse, or any other of a multitude of emotion. And, its sudden appearance alarms one because the clock is now stopped, not some distant time. The day demands a response.
Yet, while I will go about my actions, I am still emotionally untied. Some part of me is pleased that Mother’s death will be finalized by our placing her ashes in a hole held by her beloved Sandhills. She will be placed next to her mother and father, her wish. But, is any death ever final?
Our family will place the small box holding her ashes. Mary Ann and I will then drive to Woodward Mill to walk in her childhood steps. We will look at the dark water of the pond, the old grist mill, and collapsed house. But Woodward Mill is just that—place with buildings that now belongs to another family. Yet, I will walk about searching for a lost nail or small piece of wood or some other reminder that, no, her death does not finalize her life. It’s just another step in her journey.