Year after year, this day comes. I dread it, wishing for the day or even the month to skip, but it doesn’t. Another year goes by and the time I’ve had to live without her grows longer. Though, at the same time, I get closer to seeing her once again …
I’ll never forget waking up that Valentine’s Day morning. Dad kneeled beside my bed, waiting for me to awaken. Softly, he said, “I have bad news, Savannah. Mommy died.”
The rest is a haze. I can see us walking into my little sister’s room to tell her, then the three of us as we sat in silence. A vision flashes in my mind of a tear falling down my father’s cheek as he stared into the unknown.
I still cannot imagine how hard it must have been for him to tell us the tragic news. Sometimes I do not know how we all survived that day and those that followed. I guess we had no choice.
I have grown so much from that little girl to the woman I am today. I’ve spent twenty years trying to find my place in this world, trying to find “home,” and healing the wounds of my broken valentine heart. Even after all those years of trying to make it out of the dark night of the soul, I am still uncertain of its end.
It has taken what seems like an infinite amount of time to reach my destiny. For as long as I can remember, I have been reaching for something. As a dreamer who takes action, I was always on the run to my next journey, which seemed to take me no further than the last. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that everything began to make sense. I started to see the so-called “light” after years of wandering.
It was intuition and hope that caused me to follow that glimmer of light. And it would seem now, at thirty years old, I have reached it. But deep down, something tells me I haven’t made it out of the dark night completely. It’s as if the last piece of the puzzle is missing. I know that when it's time, it will fall into place. That is, if I continue to follow what I believe is right.
Today, February 14, 2015, I drive to the cemetery on the twenty-year anniversary of the day I lost her. Soon I will be the same age my mom was when she passed away. It is hard to believe that I will outlive her in years. Our lives have been so different. I have taken the path she didn’t and couldn’t—the path that has led me here. I knew I had to come back and visit her grave on this day. Not just for her, but for me as well.
I drive cautiously, flooded with emotion, as the snow falls gently but vigorously against the rental car. Putting on the radio to ease my anxiety of the weather, I sift through stations. When I come to the classic rock station, I stop. Not only is it Led Zeppelin, but this certain song fits with the tone of the day.
As I listen, I take in the beauty of the nature around me. The road to the cemetery winds through forests. Only properties with large homes and horse stables lead off the path. In the summer, all you see is green. Now the trees stand bare except for snow. The sun shines brightly through the branches. It is almost blinding to look anywhere other than right in front of me.
After making my way through the abundance of trees, the small downtown area of Barrington, Michigan, comes into view. Before I know it, it’s the turn for the cemetery. By the time I park and get out of the car, it has stopped snowing.
I walk toward her grave, just like the many times before. Instantly, I am filled with a rush of memories. It isn’t until I reach my destination that one in particular surfaces.