She died in the manner that she’d been in life – with not a single thought to how it would affect other people. I was the dutiful daughter. It wasn’t complicated. The house sold. The prized possessions with new hosts. All of it was completed without a trace of drama. Everyone expects it was like some multi-layered emotional onion from an Amy Tan novel.
I don’t believe in the afterlife as a reality, but I believe in the afterlife as a metaphor. There is a romance to think that our ancestors live on through us – the painstaking result of countless generations before us. As I waited for the train home, I looked back one last time at her little town. Smiling to myself, I realized Mother’s death taught me what I already knew – that one day death would claim me to, and finally, she and I might have something in common.