The night was dark and cold, rain was pouring down and the drops seemed like swords hitting the windshield. I was driving as fast as I could, semi trucks surrounding me, pulling me in their path. I was at school and work all day and so tired when I got home.

Then the messages one after the other; my sister said on the other end, “call me, call me, we’ve got to get down there, call me!” I called and got the news, I knew she’d been sick, I was there with her in the past two weeks. She looked like death, the smell was putrid and horrifying.

The only way I could get the image of her sickness was to think of her from what I’d always known. My mom always had this wonderful scent about her, I can still smell it today.  Her favorite flowers were African Violets, her daddy named her after Violets, his favorite flower, but she penned Viola as her name. The name suited her well. I let the thoughts of my childhood illuminate in my mind so I never have to see her pale and sickly body again.

I love my mom’s smile and the way her eyes would shimmer when she laughed, there’s just something about her face that always makes me feel warm inside. I was driving to that image, that smile and the shimmering in her eyes, I smelled her, all to familiar scent, all the way home to her. Little did I know, two weeks before that night would be the last time I would see my mom alive. I had a completeness with my mom.

I spent most of my life longing for her approval and for her to tell me that, finally, she was proud of me and two days before her passing she said those words to me…”I love you Nancy, I’m really proud of you and the way you made it through college and raising Kelsey.” Sometimes I think my very breath was hinging on those words. I wanted so much to do right by my mom, my dad too but he’s long been gone from this earth.

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