Mommy hasn’t been the same since Sammy died.
She was sad when daddy died, but she still tucked us in at night and told us bedtime stories.
She still made dinner for us every night when we came home from school. She still made a turkey for Thanksgiving and decorated for Christmas.
But ever since Sammy died last spring, Mommy hasn’t been the same.
Mommy doesn’t tuck me in anymore. She eats ramen noodles and pizza for dinner and barely looks at me when she is eating.
She microwaved a frozen turkey TV dinner for Thanksgiving.
Mommy skipped Christmas altogether. Every year since daddy died, mommy put three stockings up at the fireplace, one for Mommy, one for Sammy, and one for me. But this past Christmas, she didn’t hang any stockings up.
Mommy didn’t come to school for the parent teacher’s conference last week. I think she may have forgotten about it.
Or maybe Mommy’s mad at me. Maybe Mommy blames me.
I was the one who was supposed to look both ways. I was the one holding little Sammy’s hand when we crossed the street to get on the school bus.
But that day, I was too excited about our Easter party at school, and I couldn’t wait to get on the school bus to show Ana my Easter basket.
Mommy should be mad at me. It was my fault.
Martha and Candice got out of the car at the cemetery parking lot. Martha shifted the flowers and teddy bear in her arms as she grabbed her purse. Today is the one year anniversary of that day.
They walked towards the South end of the cemetery slowly, oblivious to the drizzling rain.
The clicking of Martha’s shoes on the pavement stopped abruptly as they reached their destination. They stepped into the field of grass towards the tombstones. Slowly, they walked down the rows until they saw the one they were looking for.
Lovingly, Martha arranged the flowers and teddy bear in front of the headstone. She ran her fingers lightly over the letters in the greenish gray stone as she read the hand carved epitaph over and over.
My little Sammy Dec 6, 2008 – Apr 14, 2017
My lovely Candice Feb 23, 2005 – Apr 14, 2017
“Sammy and Candice, Mommy loves you,” Martha whispered, her tears blending with the drizzling rain, “and I’m so sorry I couldn’t take you guys to school that day.”
Confused, Candice stepped forward to comfort her mother.
Only then, as her hand passed through her mother’s shoulder, did she notice for the first time the words on the right side of the headstone.