We hadn’t visited my grandparents house in three years. They live by a huge lake surrounded by a thick lush forest. My parents used to drop my brother and I off there every summer. It was our home away from home.
My brother and I had returned just last night. My grandmother welcomed us with open arms. The smell of her lavender hair and warm hug brought back so many good memories. She had her summer lemon cookies wrapped up nicely on the kitchen table in the blue cellophane she always uses. It was late when we arrived. Midnight. We could tell she was tired, but she always waited up for us. We were just as exhausted from the drive. Both my brother and I headed up the stairs to our rooms. We listened as my grandmother made her way to her bedroom and settled in. No sooner I hit the sheets, I was snoring.
Tiny bird voices singing and a warm soft streak of sunlight that snuck through the blinds woke me up this morning. It was early. I could feel it. I reached for my phone. It was 5:30 am. I rarely get up this early, but I had too much on my mind. I decided to get up. If I take my walk now, before breakfast, I’ll be able to take it alone. I hopped up, grabbed my scrunched jeans that laid in a heap on the floor and reached for my t-shirt. Quietly, I tiptoed down the stairs and slipped out the back door.
I could feel them coming on, but I held it in. I started to reach the edge of the woods. I took a deep breath and continued on my journey. There they were. The circle of stones.
My grandmother had talked bout how beautiful it was, but I just didn’t have the strength to see it until now. The circle of stones was surrounded by serendipitous plants full of flowers. It was like its own secret special place and that’s what my grandfather would have wanted. I’m so glad she chose this serene place for his ashes. I sat there for a long time reminiscing in my head. I pulled one hand out of my pocket and wiped the tears off my face. I took a deep breath and took one last look. It was time to head back. I’m not sure if I’ll come back to the stones again. It’s too hard.
I made it back to the house. Everyone was awake and, in the kitchen, talking and laughing. My brother could see it in my face, but he shrugged it off. I pulled up a chair. My grandmother gracefully touched my back and said she had just the thing. She poured me a glass of her fresh market milk that we loved so much. I took a huge bite out of my first lemon cookie and smiled. This was still one of my favorite places in the entire world.