I think of you when the clouds turn grey and swell, when the rain and my tears mix softening the sting of salt on my cheeks.

I think of you when I break into a new bale of sweet-smelling hay, and when the sun sets, revealing cotton-candy strokes of color that God uses when He paints the sky.

When I find new life on the homestead, I think of you then too, in the stillness, and in awe of little miracles. 

I feel you near when the steady hum of the bees surrounds me. Sometimes I think everything I need to know about life is right outside my door. You and Grandaddy taught me that.

I wonder if things would different between us, now that you’ve touched eternity; if you’d watch the waves lap lazily along the shore, wishing you could still fuss at me. “Sit in the shade, Ash,” falling on deaf ears while I bask in the serenity of a sun-filled sky. My reddened body later lying in miserable, defiant regret.

I wonder if you’d be proud of me.

Would you see how motherhood is transforming me; a human metamorphosis? Do caterpillars feel this kind of pain too, when they grow through change?

I wonder if you share the stories of my childhood with angels, if you tell them about the mom I would pretend to be back then—and of the one I’m becoming. I can hear you saying, “She has a lot on her plate,” over coffee and crumb cake.

With forever in your back pocket, would you tell me to slow down? “The very hairs on your head are numbered, Ash.”

I hear you whisper “soften” in my mind when the busyness and chaos take over and my emotions rage. I wonder if you’d put your hand on mine and say “don’t be ugly” when I lose my patience entirely.

Would you tell me to keep my eyes on the seasons? “In the winter the earth rests, and so should you.” I know my time here is limited; there’s just so much to be done.

I wonder what you’d think of this life I’ve built around all you taught me.

Would you know I’m living it to honor you, and keep your memory alive?

I wonder if you’d tell me to keep working at it; if you know the dreams of my heart and if you can see the words I bleed onto paper. I wonder if you’d read my writing the way you used to read the paper every morning, out loud and to anyone who would listen, if you were still here.

I wonder if you can hear my prayers and wish I would do more of that.

I hope you can still see me, and that I make you proud.

Originally published on the author’s blog

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Ashley Ryan

Ashley is a wife, mother of three, avid homesteader and writer. She spends her days cultivating and creating for a cure to end Alzheimer's disease.