The rhythmic creak of a rocking chair accompanied by the Edith’s sweet humming charmed her two year old son, who abandoned his toy blocks and made his way to her. Grabbing the armchair, he babbled several incoherent words and dramatically waved his arms through the air. “Alright, come here,” and Edith heaved the toddler onto her lap, wrapping her arms tightly around him. She could see Daniel so clearly in his face. The nose. His eyes. Even his hair compared more with her husband than her. How differently she felt now, compared to two years ago, when Daniel died. She remembered the horror, panic, and overwhelming pain that consumed her for so long. She remembered that day so well…
A cool breeze stroked each blade of grass as it made its way up the sloping hill, towards the small crowd of people. “Watch over us, as we continue this life without him,” the preacher solemnly finished. A mumbled “Amen” escaped everyone gathered together for Daniel Hartman’s funeral. As they slowly made their way to horse-drawn buggies, Howard, Daniel’s brother, made his way over to the new widow, Edith. Rooted to the ground, she did not move. Her hair, carelessly pulled up that morning, had come undone and it now caressed her face pale face. Her black eyes zoned out on the grave, arms hanging limply beside her frail body.
“Edith…we’re here for you…you know that,” Howard stated solemnly, gently placing his hand on her stiff shoulder, attempting to comfort her.
Unresponsive, she stared at the fresh dirt. Dark clouds overhead prophesied rain and the large oak tree’s leaves rustled once again the cold breeze. Besides a slight shiver, she remained motionless. As Howard took his wife by the arm and brought up the rear of the crowd, raindrops began plummeting to the earth. Still, Edith did not move. Then, letting out a sudden gasp of air, tears burst from her burning eyes and she sunk to her knees. “No, no, no…” she repeated desperately. Alone now, she cried freely, surrounded by open fields of golden grain, swaying in the wind. Arms tightly wrapped around her waist, she rocked herself back and forth. “God why? Why?” she quietly asked through the flood of tears. She slowly lay down next to the pile of dirt, gently placing her arm across it. What remaining energy she had left seemed to leave her then and the thought of moving was impossible. As though hugging her husband, she closed her eyes. Memories flashed through her mind and the tears stopped momentarily. In silence, she remembered everything. The day they met. Summer picnics. Laying under the stars. Their first kiss. His proposal on the river. Everything. It wasn’t enough time. Tears quickly returned, streaming across her face and dripping onto the dirt with the raindrops. But a brief, faint smile overtook her lips. “I love you,” she whispered softly. “I miss you,” she breathed.
Unrelenting rain poured from the heavens, as if the angels mourned his death as well. Though the evening approached with cooler temperatures and her dress, skin, and hair became more and more soaked, Edith lay beside the fresh grave, replaying their short life together and cementing each memory in her mind. I will never forget you…
Her mind raced back to the present as Danny playfully reached for her face and grabbed her nose. She felt freer now, though not a day passed when she did not think of him. Looking at her son, she whispered, “We’ll be all right, though, won’t we? Because now I have my little Danny.”