“See that, it’s there, just a little ways in the distance.” I couldn’t help but smile with her as she pointed.
Though I had no clue as to what she meant, I squinted; trying my best to see just what it was that had captured her attention. Her look was one that I knew well, it meant she was trying to teach me, show me what I didn’t know. Creasing my brow I finally had to admit defeat. “I don’t see it momma.” A small frown came across my innocent 17 year old face.
“Are you looking, really looking for it?” Her eyes showed no anger, no disappointment, just curiosity.
“Just there,” She pointed again, “just where the orange and pink meets the blue and purple of the sky, that’s the horizon.”
Following the colors, realization dawned on my face. “It’s big.”
“You’re like that horizon, you know that?”
I looked up into those blue eyes that had always made me feel safe, always made me feel loved. They held a little hope laced with a bigger amount of concern and fear. I let my eyes travel and take in every detail. Her long brown hair was gone, replaced with shorter curly grey. Her smooth skin now held more wrinkles brought on by her worry and pain. She was still a beautiful woman, but I couldn’t help but notice what the cancer had taken from her. I could see now the strain it had put on not only her body, but her mind.
She smiled. She knew what I was doing, and better yet she loved me for it. She could see in my own eyes how it affected me to see her struggling. She knew how much I needed her, how badly I wanted the cancer to go away. It was then I noticed she wasn’t just looking into my eyes, she was searching my soul.
“How am I like the horizon?”
“No matter whom the person, or what their mood is, it’s calming. You have that affect too. You calm me.” Her smile faded a little and I watched as tears came to her eyes. “The horizon is endless. That reminds me of you as well. You’re young. You have so many possibilities and there’s so much I had hoped to see you do. There nothing out there that’s impossible for you. I can see that.”
I swallowed hard, trying to ease the lump in my throat. I wouldn’t cry though, especially not now, when she needed me to be strong for her. “What part of the horizon are you?”
Looking away she cleared her throat. “The sun. Once upon a time, when I was younger, I was like a sunrise. Just beginning like a new day.” Her expression turned more serious. “The sun’s about to set and this day is almost done. I’m afraid I’m closer to being a sunset than a sunrise. My time is nearly up, and it’s your turn to shine like a new day.” Reaching over she placed a weak had on top of mine. “I’m proud of you baby girl. I always have been. I always will be.”
We watched the sun set that day on that old wooden swing that sat on our front porch. The following day I turned 18 and 2 weeks later I held her hand as she took her last breath and was finally free from the pain that held her body.
I’m 34 now, and I’m a mom. Not a day goes by that I don’t stop and notice the sky. Be it early morning or late afternoon, there’s always something there worth seeing. My children know of the horizon, of the dreams I have for them to be happy and of the woman who I called mom. I take the time, just like she did, to let them know that they’re loved and that they’re safe.
To put it best, you never know how many sunrises you have left. Don’t let any of them slip away, I haven’t.