Spring is painful this year. It has always been my favorite season, It was my mother's as well. She loved the symbolic promise of new beginnings, the rebirth of nature and the chance to once again work to beautify English-style flower gardens in her yard on the corner.

Through the dark cold fall and winter of my mother's open heart surgery, and her doomed fight to recover, she and I talked about where she would be in the spring. On the days when she fought to breathe, or was having her lungs drained...again, or when the fear in her eyes made mine fill with tears, I told her that I believed she would welcome this most glorious season with renewed health and a healed heart. I shared with her my vision of seeing her walking briskly through her neighborhood. It seemed to help us both.

Before her surgery, we devised signs that, if she didn't survive, would let me know she was still near. She immediately chose the mourning dove's song. (She also told me that she would try to move objects in my home that were tied to her in some way).

Spring has arrived today. The birds were singing louder than before outside my window this morning, chasing away the last signs of a freak snowstorm, and heralding the tulips as their heads peeked out of the wet dirt in my front yard. Mourning doves? Not yet. Moved objects? Only a picture of my mother that I moved to the counter to greet me when I walk in the door alone at the end of the day.

Wherever my mother is, I hope for her a spring rebirth that is free of all the infirmities and indignities of her last months on this earth. She deserves a spring more magnificent than anything imagined in this dimension. I will try to picture her walking briskly there, maybe with family or friends that went before.

I ache for her, and I will keep listening for the song of the mourning dove...

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