I Don't Visit My Mother's Grave. And That is Okay.
My mother passed away last year and she is buried on the other side of the State. When I was a child, she would take my sister and I to the same cemetary to clean up my grandparents' graves. It wasn't necessary as the church's grounds crew always did a great job. Yet, she deemed it appropriate and necessary to do.
I would walk the graves, the more elaborate ones with obelisks or angels on top to the plain granite plates for others. I wondered what their lives were like, and I would make up elaborate biographies that I would forget as soon as we left.
That is how I see graves of people, memorial sites to the greater extent as well. Their lives were lived, they passed on. The memories and love live on in us.
Observing a marker of a corpse seems hollow to me. The past is done and gone, why go back to what isn't? Thinking of better times?
On can reminisce and look back wherever one happens to be. Is it a stalled tradition that only serves to reignite a sorrow? What joy comes from seeing the dead? None for me.
When my mother passed, I was stunned. We had only found out two weeks prior that she had Stage 4 Cancer of the Liver. Metastisized. Inoperable. Only a week or so to live.
She was a dialysis patient and lucid when she was admitted to the hospital. 5 days later as her Medical Power of Attorney, I had to ask my mother is she was prepared to die. That is a horrible question to have to ask of your own parent.
She agreed she was ready. She prayed a lot. I sat with her and held her hand. There wasn't much left to say. She knew she was loved and we knew she loved us.
The next 6 days of her life was spent on a cocktail of morphine and ativan and she was effectively catatonic. She was in the hospital's Hospice program by then. She passed away at 6am May 13th, 2013.
I miss my mother and I try to honor her life by being the person she taught me to be. Patient, thoughtful, charitable, and kind. Her grave is well-maintained as the generations before them are at the family burial site. I witnessed her internment, and now that chapter is closed.
When my son asks about his grandmother later in life, whom he knew well, I will have many stories to share about how she helped others at great costs to herself. I can describe a lady who raised two children to instill them a sense of devotion and dedication to those they love and that which captures their passions.
No gravesite is needed to remind me of the love I hold for my lost ones. I need only search my heart and there they all are. My mother, my grandparents, friends, and heroes.
Life goes on. Don't forget to live it. Those who have passed would want you to look forward and not be stuck in the times that are dead and gone. Move forward. Always.