What can YOU say in six sentences?
The last letter came in 1980 and was added to the others, a decade's worth in a plastic grocery bag which would accompany me when I went to live with her.
In 1983 the letters were joined by two small bear pins - a white one for her, brown for me, her two favorite shirts, a blue head band and a PDR full of red ink where she heavily underlined the name and dangers of the drug that killed her; the bag of her then followed me through ten more moves, three marriages, four births and a series of hurricanes.
For twenty-six years the blue head band pulled back my hair each morning as cool water splashed a face similar to hers, as makeup was scrubbed away, blemishes healed, as I unconsciously wore her, went through her long ago motions remembered by the child who believed in immortality.
I have never intentionally visited the grave at Rosehill Cemetery, though I stood near it when we buried my brother beside her, tried not to look at the deep gray marble etched with her name because it was proof, stationary, permanent.
The two favorite shirts pulled from her closet the day after the funeral - one little girlish, the other hippy - are folded neatly and stacked at the top of my closet, no longer holding the smell of her, that buttery sweetness mixed with White Diamonds perfume; the PDR is outdated, its aqua cover torn; the faded bear pins and head band were lost sometime around my forty-fourth birthday, her age when she died, my age when I began writing our story.
Only the letters hold significance now, resonate, handwriting sometimes vibrant loops or shaky, her voice softly lilting on pages of colorful stationary, transcendent, "I love you, don't ever forget."