Week 21 of the Generations Cafe challenge is At The Cemetery. I’ve never been a regular visitor to cemeteries or gravesites of family members. I imagine it stems from the death of my Dad when I was 15. His death, funeral and burial in a local cemetery were devastating. As we left the cemetery a violent Midwest thunderstorm erupted drenching everyone and ripping off rooftops.
I did not return to my Dad’s grave until decades later after I had moved to California. On a visit to my hometown I asked a girlfriend to go with me to the cemetery where my Dad is buried along with a few other family members who died too young.
For some reason I had an aching in my heart to see his headstone. I got teary eyed and realized I had never really dealt with the emotion of my Dad passing. My Mom had been so distraught that I stood strong and sort of boxed up my feelings. When I looked at the headstone I thought…Yes, he really died.
My Mom and her second husband are buried in another cemetery in my hometown. Mom died first and 18 months later my stepdad passed. They wanted to be buried together so we had graveside services for the two of them with many family and friends present. I have been back there once to assure the site is being maintained.
It is much more meaningful to me to go sit on the park bench I donated and look at the two oak trees I had planted in their memory. It happens that the bench is in view of the first house Mom and Harry owned.
A year before my Mom and Harry passed my husband of 54 years died. We were traveling and as luck would have it we were in my hometown when he became critically ill and died a week later. I had no clue where to have him buried. I have family members in grave sites all around the Midwest but I live in California. I decided to just take Jim home with me. My daughter and her hubby drove me on the route Jim and I had planned to take from Illinois to California. Each night we would carry the box with Jim’s remains into the hotel. Bless my kids for going along with what I wanted.
When we arrived in California at my daughter’s house it just seemed natural to bring Jim into my room that she had prepared for me. And that’s how it’s been for the last 8 years. Jim’s remains, in a sealed box, are in a large colorful box from Michael’s along with his wallet, glasses, phone and a few other personal items. There’s also a box filled with Mom and Harry’s personal items in the stack of memento boxes. It may sound strange but for me, this is very comfortable.