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Visiting the Grave

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I stood there, looking down at the dirty and discolored piece of granite, with tears slowly falling down my cheeks. I didn’t think I could do this when I left the house, and I still didn’t think I could do this even though I was standing right in front of her grave. Standing here, with the rain coming down like mother nature was crying with me, brought back all of the painful memories that I tried not to think about since that day. It had all happened so quickly; one moment, my mom and I were talking; the next moment, I was being pulled from the car by the paramedics. I remember that day like it was yesterday....



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I’m sitting on the steps outside of Lakeview High School waiting for my mom to pick me up since I was not yet 16. The cold wind whips my scarf around my face, making it hit me multiple times. The sun is out but that doesn’t make the temperature rise from the chilly 30 degrees Fahrenheit it was at currently. Looking around, I notice that the parking lot is completely empty except for the few cars that belong to teachers.

Standing up, I look down the deserted roads and see a silver Volvo turning into the lot. Recognizing it as my mother’s car, I bound down the stairs and sprint to it. Jumping into the passenger’s seat, I quickly close the door and turn on my seat warmer.

“I’m sorry I’m late,” says my mom. “My meeting went longer then it was supposed to.”

“It’s okay, Mom,” I say. “You weren’t that late.” Because of our conversation, my mom was paying little attention to the road; we made a wrong turn.

“Mom?” I asked, “I think we went the wrong way.” My mom, noticing I was right, decided to make a U-turn. Turning around into the other lane, my mom didn’t notice the car that had just turned down the street. The car was going way too fast, so it couldn’t stop.

“Mom!” I screamed. But it was too late. We were too far out on the street to back up, and the other car couldn’t stop; it was headed right for the driver’s side of the car.

“I love you, Raina.” Were the last words she said before my world turned black.


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Why did I come here? I thought, because you needed closure. I knew that I needed to accept the fact that my mom wasn’t coming back. I needed to accept the fact that I wouldn’t see her until I died. I needed to accept the fact that she was dead.

Looking down at the headstone, I gathered up enough courage to read what it said:
“Here lies a caring friend, a loving daughter, and a dedicated wife.
Carmen Rose Johnson
May 25th, 1964- November 18th, 2005”

My anger for her leaving started to get the better of me. “Why’d you leave?” I scream. “Why’d you leave me here alone? Why didn’t you pay more attention? What did I ever do to you? Was I not pretty enough? Or smart enough? Or was I a horrible daughter? Why, why, why did you leave? I was only 14! The last three years have been horrible! I have no one with whom to shop. I have no one with whom to talk about boys, clothes, or shoes. I have no one, Mom! Dad tries his hardest, but he doesn’t know how to take of a hormonal teenage girl! I need you, Mom! I really need you!”

With that I fall to my knees and cry. I cry for my mom, my dad, and myself. I cry for all of the things I never got to experience with my mom. I cry for the things my mom didn’t get to do and the places she never saw. I cry for what could have been but isn’t any more. When all of my tears stop falling and dry up, I talk to my mom’s grave, hoping she’ll hear me. I talk about school, prom, and homecoming. I talk about Melissa Walker, the Queen Bee of my school. I talk about my boyfriend, Darren Hendricks, whom I’ve had a crush since third grade. I talk about Dad and how he stares at my mom’s pictures before he goes to bed every night. I talk about my friends, Hailey and Ava. I talk about U of I, the college I hope to attend. I just keep talking until there’s nothing about which to talk.

When I finally run out of things to say, I feel lighter, like a great burden has been released, like I’m breathing fresh air for the first time in three years. I guess this is how having closure feels like, almost as if your weightless and don’t have a care in the world. I stand up and start walking to my car; my mission has been accomplished for today. As I’m about to leave, I say one last thing that has not yet been said, “Goodbye, Mom. I love you and I won’t ever forget you.”

Yes, a great weight has been lifted off my chest. I can finally move on with my life. Graduate college, get married, have a few kids, who knows? The future is full of possibilities and different paths from which to choose. I don’t know what lies at the end of the paths, but I do know for certain that my mom will be there every step of the way.





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