When I was a kid we'd take family trips to the cemetery to pay our respects to my grandparents. My mom would pack lunches and we'd all hop into my uncle's big red station wagon. Us kids would play some silly game until my cousin puked all over the hatchback. The rest of us would escape to the corners, doing our best to stay as far away from him as possible.
It's been 10,512,000 minutes since the last time we we're altogether at the cemetery.
Counting the minutes became "a thing" after seeing the Broadway show RENT for the first time in 1998. I remember sitting in the audience with tears streaming down my face because the wounds were fresh and the message was personal. Seasons of Love made me cry and brought me peace at the same time. "You got to remember the love. Love is a gift from up above. Measure your life in love."
10,512,000 minutes = 20 years. Some memories have faded, like her laugh, her voice, her smile but those feelings of love will last forever. Some days, it's unfathomable that it's been 20 years. What's most unbelievable is that I made it through in one piece.
When someone commemorates an anniversary of 20 years the optimal metal and/or stone to present as a gift are platinum and emerald. Platinum symbolizes purity and endurance. Emerald signifies hope, renewal, wisdom and life. If my mother were alive today I would hand her the most beautiful combination of the two. She personified each of these qualities and lived her short life spreading and sharing them with everyone that crossed her path.
20 years later the gravestone still looks the same, as if it was just put up. I took my kids for their first visit this weekend. This time it was Marley puking and Maya escaping to the corner. The hour and a half long drive was peaceful as the girls entertained Nanny and Frank with trivia. Thankfully, they don't know the pain of losing a loved one like I do, so the sentiment was lost on them.
Nanny told them to find pebbles and place them on the gravestone, so that Grandma would know that they'd been there. They found about 20 stones and laid them below her name. I threw 13 to the side and left 7. That was mom's favorite number so I'm sure her smile was brighter than usual.
-I loved you like there was no tomorrow...and then one day there wasn't.