On the Wednesday before my mother died, I tripped & fell while walking one of the dogs. I skinned my right knee. I came home & cleaned it up without telling her about it. It wasn’t a big deal.

Three days later, the morning of the day she died, after I got out of the shower, I looked at the scab that had formed & wondered if it was infected. She was asleep. I didn’t wake her to ask her, even though I could have. She’s a nurse. She could tell me one way or another. She was also my mother. She’d had plenty of experience with my skinned knees. I just planned to ask her to take a look at it when I got home. I let her sleep. I figured it could wait.

I never got to ask her to look at it.

As my brother & I sat on the beach after scattering her ashes the Friday after she died, my wet pants rolled up above my skinned knee, my father stood over me & asked me what I’d done. I told him. I’d tripped & fell the week before. My father has never been very observant. My mother was the one I relied on to notice the little things. But in that moment, I realized how much things had changed. He was the only one left to notice these things.

Tonight as I showered, the scab finally fell off. And my mother never knew it existed in the first place. Instead I have a scar instead of her. Something to always remind me. I hate that.

Image: Caitlinator via flickr