She rakes dead grass off the grave with the three names and one inscription: Forever in Our Hearts. The woman in work gloves and white sun hat picks up the dead grass and stuffs her plastic bag full for another trip to the ravine down the hill. She'll be back this week with her John Deere riding mower to navigate through the buttercupped rows at Annapolis' African-American burial ground.
Have you ever gone to a high school reunion? I think back about my 10-year high school reunion and remember how it was all about what we were doing with our lives, what college we had gone to, where we were living and the career paths we chose. I was thinking that going to a high school reunion in my 50s would be somewhat the same. It wasn't.
Seldom will anything break your heart as easily as the sight of your child in unbelievable emotional pain... and what greater pain is there to a child than the tragic loss of a parent. Though it has been many years since his death, my daughter still experiences bouts of sadness because Daddy is not here anymore.
The prospect of the empty nest, while raising children, was for me as foreign and distant as the Siberian tundra. Imagining myself without children to care for as my primary occupation seemed at once impossible and slightly seductive -- the idea of my kids off and on their own, while I had hours to pursue my dreams was something I thought about only in the abstract.