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So normal

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It seemed so normal:

there I was, under the rhododendron, pulling weeds and clipping off the bluebells before they go to seed. Birds were singing from the trees, swallows swooping low over the yard in search of insects; kids walked by on the street, laughing. My stomach grumbled in the way that means it's time for lunch, but I knew I didn't have to worry, so as always, I pulled some more, clipped some more, waiting for Mom to call, "Time for lunch", and I'd call back, "Let me finish this bucket", and she'd holler, "Your father needs your help to get to the table".

I got my bucket -- really a twenty-gallon tub -- filled with clippings, and wondered when lunch really was. As I backed out from under brilliant blossoms of red and pink, back into the yard, my dog Bammer came sniffing along.

That's when it hit me: Dad's been gone a year and a half, and Mom is in a retirement community. I'm not doing the flower beds to keep them the way Dad likes, but to keep the house looking good for sale. I'm the last here, and won't be for long.

It'll never seem normal again.