Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Birthday

It was a blustery October afternoon when I decided it was time to pay her a visit.  It was the day before my big race and I was supposed to be at home relaxing, not walking around in the rain.  But I knew I was running out of time.  My days in that 'hood were numbered.  We were going to be moving on so it was now or never.   I clutched my phone in my hand and kept glancing down at it as I walked around.  I wanted to make sure I had the info right.  

Would she be here I wondered?

It had been 25+ years since I saw her last.   The overwhelming urge to see her again was inexplicable.  I guess I just really needed to know that she was there.  I wandered around for what seemed like an hour.  I was cold.  It was windy and miserable out.  I was getting discouraged.  I must have looked completely lost because a groundskeeper stopped to ask me what I was looking for.  I told him and he pointed me in another direction.  He led the way and gingerly stepped along a path I hadn't really noticed before.  Just as I walked over to him I saw it.

I willed myself not to cry.  At long last.  Here she is.  

I thanked the groundskeeper for his help and waited until he left before I let the tears flow.  I'm not sure why I was so overcome with emotion.  She's been gone for 27 years.  Time may be the great healer but it can also make you realize how much you've missed.   I knelt down, cleaned off the stone and said hello.

Copyright Phaedra Kennedy 2011

Do you know how many times I've run by here looking for you?  You know I think of you often.  I think you'd be really proud of the woman I've become.  And yes, I still love Duran Duran.  I'll be thinking of you tomorrow when I'm out racing.  I know you'll be cheering me on from wherever you are.  I'll be back next week for another visit.

It's two days post race and I'm feeling good.  Almost good enough to lace up my shoes and take one last lap through Mount Pleasant.  The thought is tempting given that by weeks end we will be out of the 'hood an back in the West End.  But I decide that a short walk might be a better option, especially given that I don't know where half of my running stuff is.   It's a gloomy October evening but the weather is not affecting me.  As I turn into the cemetery, a small smile spreads across my lips.  I'm happy because I'm going back to check in on Grandma and wish her Happy Birthday.  

Ruth Miriam Welch:  Born October 18, 1916, Died December 31st, 1984, from breast cancer.  Mother, traveler, avid gardener and one very cool Grandma.  

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