After five years, it seemed like I should see where she was now.
I had a drivers license, a car, and no class on Monday.
As my bagel warmed up in the toaster over, I threw some snacks into a bag – some cuties, a few granola bars, and two bottles of water, along with my full reusable bottle.
The slow backroads of Rohnert Park passed away to the slower backroads of Cotati as I drove towards Highway 101.
A few dark clouds hung in the sky. My windows were cracked just slightly as I began the drive south. The dark clouds turned to rain just past the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.
I had little for my destination but an address.
I crossed the mountains east of Livermore and the windmills waved me off to Interstate-5. Clear skies and warmer weather greeted me. My windows rolled down as the Back to the Future theme came on. I sped up to 88 miles an hour for a few seconds, then got bored and slowed back down.
My exit drew closer.
Empty fields and no traffic greeted me in the middle of nowhere.
I made a few turns, and parked
Grass waved on the hills around me.
I parked my car, got out and walked around. I had the number I was looking for, but no idea where to go, so I wandered around a building, by a fountain, along some flagpoles. Then I saw a sign pointing to the number I was looking for. My heart skipped a beat and I stood still for a moment.
I took one step forward, then another. I found myself walking until I passed the number I was looking for. I took a few steps back then turned to the one I was looking for.
There she was.
“Hi mom,” I whispered, looking down at her gravestone for the first time.
“I guess this is the closest we’ve been in a few years, huh?”
I sat down and ran my fingers along the engraving of her name.
I looked on for a few moments, looked at the mountains around me, and stood.
“I love you mom,” I said, realizing that I was just at a place. A place with a stone. A stone that represents a person. A person who has never been to that place. So why should that place be significant to me.
I realized that more significant is the sidewalk I was walking on two days before she died when I had to stop and cry for 10 minutes. That more significant that this place were places I had been with my mom. People who knew her.
“This is just a stone,” and I looked up “I love you mom.”
I got back in my car, not even 30 minutes after arriving, and started to drive back.
When I Look at You by Miley Cyrus came on, and I shed a few tears, remembering that death is permanent and realizing that so is the impact of life truly lived.