My mother is crying.
I am sitting with my arms around her in a gesture meant to comfort, but it’s a perfunctory effort. My arms may as well be made of wood, and my heart, of stone.
It’s February and we are in Florida, attempting to celebrate my mother’s first birthday without Dad. Mom is raw and unsteady. As brittle and delicate as a fallen leaf. When I arrive at the airport, I hug her and try to find the right thing to say. Saying the wrong thing, even a sincere “how are you?” brings her to tears some days. But my own eyes stay dry.
I am a terrible daughter.