Damon Young/VSB

"This house is not our home anymore. It's just an empty building."

I'm writing this while at the cemetery. My dad, my sister, and three of my nieces came out here to visit my mom today. It was a beautiful day. Warm and sunny, but not oppressively hot or humid, it was as beautiful of a mid-May day you can ask for. Especially in Pittsburgh. Its one of those days life finds ways to remind you of how conspicuous signs of life can be. Maybe the birds aren't chirping any louder than usual, and maybe the sky isn't any bluer than it is on other clear days, but something about days like this just makes you more aware. More connected to your senses. More alive.

I'm writing this while at the cemetery. I'm standing a foot away from where my mom's remains have been for the last year and a half. Assuming she's six feet beneath the surface, the woman who brought me into this world — who carried, incubated, cultivated, and fed me for nine months; and then continued doing so for 34 more years — is two yardsticks away from me right now. She's not close enough for me to touch her. But with a good shovel and a couple hours of work, she could be.

I'm writing this while at the cemetery. It's Mother's Day and I'm here to visit my mom. I'm standing a foot away from where my mom's remains have been for the last year and a half. And I don't feel anything. At least not anything more than I've felt in the last year and a half. I'm at Restland-Lincoln Memorial Cemetery, and I feel no different than how I felt while watching the Cavs and Bulls with my dad at Red Robin three hours ago. And I keep asking myself why. Why isn't this moment more for me? And I keep coming back to that quote.

It's from Road to Perdition. Michael Sullivan's (Tom Hanks) wife and youngest son had just been murdered in their home; killed by the paranoid son of the city's mob boss. His oldest son, 12-year-old Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin), survives the attack, and they escape town together. Before leaving the house one last time, Sullivan turns to his son and delivers that line.

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"This house is not our home anymore. It's just an empty building."

I'm writing this while at the cemetery. It's Mother's Day and I'm here to visit my mom. I'm standing a foot away from where my mom's remains have been for the last year and a half. And I don't feel anything. Because while my mom's remains might be there, that is not my mom. It's just an empty body. And I believe this — I know this — because she's still here with me. And I know she's still here with me because I see and hear and talk to her everyday. I see her when I see the skin covering my hands, my forearms, my neck, and my face. We're the exact same color; the same dark brown crayon was used to shade the space between both of our outlines. I feel her when I'm anxious, or when I'm sick, or when I'm sad and she reassures me with words that would be too simple to really resonate with me if they came from anyone else. But they came from my mom, so they do. I see her again when I see my wife. Not because they remind me of each other (they don't) but because without her I might not have known which type of woman to choose to spend the rest of my life with.

I'm writing this while at the cemetery. It's Mother's Day and I'm here to visit my mom. I'm standing a foot away from where my mom's remains have been for the last year and a half. And I don't feel anything. At least not anything more than I've felt in the last year and a half. Because she's already with me — still loving me; still guiding me; still inside of me — and I know I'll see and talk to her later.