They are just these little stuffed Christmas ornaments. Stars, angels, hearts that read “Peace.” And tonight, they tipped my anger, the anger that has, I guess, been sitting below my surface, buried in my crushed heart.

Why did she not get to finish making these little things? Why are there boxes and boxes of unfinished craft projects, shelves of unfinished books, hours of unfinished conversations? Why can she not be here to finish them?

Two days ago, I opened a huge bin and found Christmas presents she had bought for my dad, brother, sister-in-law, and her friends. I was with her when she bought many of those gifts, books mostly. I may have even been with her when she bought the t-shirt that read “Got books?,” the one I know is mine. Her gift to me, the gift she will never give me.

Tonight, I took one of those stuffed angel ornaments and caressed its head; then, I grabbed all the unfinished ornaments and crushed them as hard as I could. They just bounced back, open at their bases but still the same, still completely unfinished. I threw them in the woodstove and watched them burn.

I am not angry at God. I am not angry at Mom. I am not angry at the doctors or at the culture of her teen years that said it was okay for her to saturate her skin with baby oil and bake in the sun (okay, maybe I am a little angry with that idea). I am not even angry at the cancer. I am simply angry that the world is this way and that my mom is not here. I am angry that my time with her feels so very unfinished.