Helen Irene Dorsey Arp
Eight years ago today, I woke up and began preparing for my mother's funeral.
Eight years ago today, I was immobilized by grief.
I can still remember how I felt that morning, it's almost like it was just moments ago.
I still remember putting on my dress, and trying to put on makeup through tears.
I remember seeing relatives that I'd not seen in years, and realizing how bittersweet it was to see them under these circumstances.
I remember feeling terribly alone, despite being surrounded by people.
I remember the ride to the cemetery.
I remember the lump in my throat.
I remember the humidity.
I remember feeling the grass crunching under my feet in the hot Missouri sun.
I remember hearing the locusts.
I remember seeing my mother.
I remember the smell of the Stargazer lilies on the coffin.
I remember seeing her two remaining sisters, that join her in heaven now, weeping over her.
I remember after the funeral, hearing my relatives talking, and the forks hitting the plates as they ate, as I lay in the bedroom wondering how life would go on.
Today - eight years from that day -
I remember my mother's laugh.
I remember my mother's hands.
I remember how hard my mother worked.
I remember my mother's stubbornness.
I remember my mother's devotion to her family.
I remember my mother ironing our pajamas, and mopping the floor while Conway Twitty played in the background.
I remember my mom watching Hee Haw and the Carol Burnett show and watching her get so tickled.
I remember my mom mothering all the neighborhood kids.
I remember my mom's garden being the prettiest on the block.
I remember my mom cooking dinner every single night.
I remember not to take anything for granted.
I remember to work hard for the things you want.
I remember to be stubborn when it's needed.
I remember to love.
I remember to laugh.