As I drove in, I saw the most magnificently beautiful pink flowering tree hanging above Ella's grave...the pink and silver pinwheel I put next to her headstone spinning like mad in the breeze. That's when the tears started to flow. I could barely steer the damn minivan around the last curve to my boys' grave. As I slowly coasted into my customary parking place under the deep red tree (no longer a mere sapling), the sobs escaped. It was here...the cry. I knew it was coming eventually...I had just hoped to hold it off for a while longer. But it snuck in without invitation regardless of my need for control.
I pulled myself back together, removed my suit jacket, and stepped out into the rain. I was wearing my black flat sandals. My bare toes squished in the cold water and mud as I made my way back to their grave...my boys...my dead children. How did I end up here? Standing in the rain, up to my ankles in mud and water, talking to my dead boys. Whose life is this? Whose dead children are these?
I started yanking the pansies out of the mud and muck. The sobs returned as I ripped and pulled them from the earth, flinging their remains into the woods behind the gravesite. I hacked at the globs of mud, chopping poor unsuspecting earthworms who ventured into my hysterical path. The rain water ran down my scalp and my neck, around my breasts, sending drips running downward to the stream paths of the pointless stretchmarks on my belly. I didn't feel the cold. My fingers and toes grew numb as my rampage continued toward the ultimate satisfaction...a gaping hole in the area directly in front of Alex's headstone...the area where flowers should be.
I remembered the petunias in the van. I had been driving them around since Friday before Travis' funeral but hadn't had a chance to plant them because it has been raining for the past seven days. How appropriate that it started raining last Tuesday, the day after losing Travis...and it hasn't stopped raining yet. But since I had already gouged the earth in my rampage and was soaked to the bone, I figured I might as well jump right in to the planting phase of things.
I sloshed to the van and grabbed some petunias as a crow sat up in the highest tree, mocking me with his cries. I tried to ignore him but he insisted on being heard. I told him to shut-up. He crowed again. I told him to shut-up again. He crowed again. I found myself yelling hysterically, "Just leave me alone! Please! Just shut-up and go away. I don't believe in you anymore."
My tears mixed with the rain...but who would know...certainly not my boys. They don't know anything. The will never know anything. I froze my toes and my fingers nearly off to plant some flowers for some boys who will never know that they are even there...that I was even there...sobbing in the rain...yelling at that damn crow overhead.
Finally getting everything just the way I wanted it (I am apparently obsessed with the directional abilities of the boys' pinwheels...the MUST catch the same breeze and spin together), I climbed in the empty minivan, kicked off my squishy sandals, and turned the heat on high to thaw my toes. I listened to some piano music and watched my expertly placed pinwheels spin in unison. As the song changed, I noticed that the crow was gone...replaced in song by some other bird with a much sweeter song...a cardinal? I don't know...I couldn't spot him. But the tears tapered off and I found a sense of finality. Not peace. There will never be peace. But it's over. This is all there is. Two dead boys in the mud. And a headache from crying.