My mother brings roses to my house every year at Christmas time.
For a long time I couldn’t figure out why she did it, why she felt so compelled every year at this time to stop by a few days before Christmas and drop off a few roses. The first year the tragedy struck, she gave me four roses to commemorate the day. One white and three red.
She told me that the white one was for me and the three red roses were to represent the children that I had born. But after the first year, she began to bring only three roses. One is usually pink or white, and the other two are red.
I am not sure who is represented by what, and she doesn’t elaborate on her choices; I guess she doesn’t want to analyze her gift, and to be truthful, I don’t really want to know her thinking behind this gift.
But this year, just today, I suddenly realized why she so faithfully continues this practice. It’s because there isn’t any grave to visit.
I couldn’t bear to put my darling in the ground, so we had her cremated, and now her ashes reside in our china closet, surrounded by a few remnants of what was her life; a bracelet, some stones from her parochial school, a golden camel that traveled all the way from Tunisia in the hands of an admirer just to give to her. This is our only homestead shrine to my beloved daughter.
I know that my mother feels terribly burdened by the series of events that took place on that Christmas night that resulted in her death, but truth be told, its not my mother’s fault, it never was. None of us who live here require her to bring the roses as a penance for her self inflicted, supposed guilt, yet every year with regularity, the roses arrive.
I can’t stop my mother from this personal sacrificial act, it is her choice to take on blame that doesn’t rightfully belong to her.
Truth be told, there is only one person in this whole world who can be held accountable for any of this, one person alone who can rightfully claim any blame for my daughter’s death.
The person who should have known what was going on, who could have raced to stop the deed of Death before his fingers reached out to clamp down on the heart of my child. There is only one who can truly claim that guilt and who should be the one dutifully supplying the roses for the urn. It should be the one who knew her best, and everyone knows it. As it has been calculated and stated for thousands of years, the guilt of any child’s mishaps, always reside on the conscious of their own mother.