“Honey?” Linda asked, as she pulled her coat tighter around her. It was an unusually cold and wet day in May especially for Louisiana. Linda and Eugene had spent many family vacations in the hot muggy heat at his parents’ home there. Now, they stood alone in the cemetery at his mother, Sylvia’s grave.
“Hmm?” Eugene responded.
“Would you like a few moments alone, to say good-bye?”
“Yes, would you mind?” Tears glistened in his eyes. Sadness threatened to over take him, but he shook it off, trying to be strong in front of her.
“Not at all, take all the time you need.” She said. A sob caught in her throat as she turned to walk to the car. Faster and faster she walked trying not to let her emotions over take her. “I have to be strong for him.” She thought.
In all of their twenty-one years of marriage this was by far the hardest thing they had ever been through together. It was the end of a two-year battle with cancer for Sylvia.
Linda opened the car door and got inside where it was warm and dry. She closed her eyes and thought about how quickly she fell in love with his mother. Her mind drifted back to the first time she met Sylvia.
“Honey, I’m so nervous about meeting your Aunt Lizzy.” Linda said, wringing her hands in her lap. “What in the world am I going to do when I meet your mother for the first time.”
Eugene reached across the seat and took her hand in his.
“It’ll be ok.” He assured her. “And besides, meeting my Mom is a long way off. I don’t know when we’ll get to see her. Probably this summer when we go on vacation.”
Linda let out a deep sigh. That gave her some comfort knowing it was going to be a while before she actually had to come face to face with her.
“We’re here!” Eugene announced as they pulled into his aunt’s driveway.
Linda’s heart began to beat faster and her hands began to sweat.
“It doesn’t look like anyone is home, so we’ll go in the back door. She never locks it.” Eugene said, as he got out of the car.
Linda took a deep breath, wiped her hands on her jeans and got out of the car.
All of a sudden the back door burst open and a very attractive, dark headed woman came running out and jumped into Eugene’s arms. Clearly, he was as happy to see her, as she was to see him.
“Oh, no!” Linda thought. “This is either an old girlfriend or his mother!” She stopped in her tracks and waited to see what would happen next.
Eugene held the woman tightly, set her down, hugged her once more and kissed her on the cheek.
“Was that a tear in his eye?” Linda wondered.
“Babe, come here. I want you to meet, my mother, Sylvia.” Eugene said.
“Mother, this is Linda.”
Linda politely extended her hand but Sylvia pushed it aside and hugged her like she had known her all her life. That was the beginning of twenty-one years of hugs and tears to say hello and to say goodbye. Their visits were few and far between but Sylvia’s love for them grew stronger and stronger each day of her life.
Many times she told Linda, “I have two children and I love them both dearly, but Eugene is my heart.”
Linda was brought abruptly back to the present when the car door opened. Eugene got in and tears rolled down his cheeks. She reached for him and pulled him to her. Sobs escaped from both of them. They clung to each other and cried till they could cry no longer.
“I’m sorry, I was trying to be strong for you.” Linda said.
“And I was trying to be strong for you.” He said, as he smiled at her. “Sometimes in our weakness, we find strength.”
As they drove away from the cemetery, Linda whispered, “I’ll take good care of your heart, Momma, I promise. I love you.” A tear trickled down her cheek as she took Eugene’s hand in hers and kissed it.
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