I remember how she sat up so straight and crossed one leg behind the other and folded her hands neatly in her lap.
I remember how frightened she was heading off into surgery that day even though we were sure it was only an ulcer.
I remember hearing her voice singing softly as she went about her chores during the day and the girlish smile she would give you if you caught her because she was too bashful to actually sing in front of anyone.
I remember her looking at everyone and being able to tell we had all been crying when she woke up from surgery that day.
I remember it taking so long to tease her hair and someone always had to get in the only bathroom before she got finished so she would walk through the house giggling and making faces with her hair standing straight up.
I remember the fear in her eyes when she was told that she was dying of cancer and there was nothing they could do for her.
I remember how beautiful she was with her hair swooped up into a twist in the back when she did finish teasing it.
I remember holding her hand while we watched the medicine drip into her arm that would surely make her sick but might prolong her life.
I remember watching her and my stepfather slow dance in the living room on Friday nights when they couldn’t afford to go out.
I remember her crying like a baby when she didn’t want to take the medicine anymore and having to fight with everyone so I could just take her home.
I remember how important it was to her to always have a clean and happy house no matter what she did or didn’t have.
I remember having to learn to give her shots in her stomach to thin her blood and watching her put a pillow over her face so she wouldn’t see it coming.
I remember that even though she never had a nice house, she always said that you could make any house a home, and she always did.
I remember watching her wilt away like a beautiful flower deprived of sunlight.
I remember getting my coffee ready and calling her every morning for years and talking and laughing for hours sometimes about anything and everything.
I remember looking at the big bottle of morphine beside her bed and thinking that I could end her suffering easily, but always having that glimmer of hope that stopped me.
I remember walking in her house on Sundays and smelling dinner cooking.
I remember crawling up in the bed beside her in the middle of the night and cuddling her up to me the way she had done me when I was a child.
I remember walking through the yard with her as she told me the names of each flower or shrub that was blooming and why she planted it where she did.
I remember her being so weak her hands shook as she reached to wipe the tears flowing down my cheeks.
I remember how strong she was when she was divorced with five kids and left on her walk to the bus stop in her stockings and heels carrying her youngest, and a diaper bag and a purse.
I remember standing in my back yard screaming at God for letting this happen to her and begging him to either make her well or end it.
I remember laughing and giggling in the kitchen as she taught me how to cook.
I remember sitting in the dark beside her with my hand on her chest to feel her breathe.
I remember her laughing so hard she peed her pants when I dressed up one Halloween as an old man and she didn’t know it was me.
I remember my sister describing how she had bathed her and redressed her after she passed, before she called us all to come and see her one last time.
I remember watching her rock her grandbabies to sleep.
I remember a pain like none I had ever felt before knowing that she was gone and crying so hard I couldn’t breathe.
I remember the huge picture she embroidered while I was pregnant with my daughter and then how she worked feverishly on it while I was in labor.
I remember it rained the day we buried her.
God help me to remember and help me to forget.