I'm headed to Selma, Alabama for a couple nights and one thing I'm anxious to do is go by and visit my Mom's grave.
One thing my Mom always said about visiting a cemetery is that "our loved ones are not there, they are in a much better place." Sometimes I felt that she said that because we didn't live close to where her parents are buried and it made her feel better about not "tending to" their graves herself. Now as I've grown older, I understand what she meant.
It was extremely difficult for me to leave Mom's grave the day of the funeral. After everyone had said their goodbyes and wished us well, the biggest hurdle in my adjustment to her death came that evening. It was a cold, dark night in March 2003 and the rain was coming down in sheets. As irrational as it may seem, it took every thing in my power not to race out to the cemetery because I felt like Mom was out there alone "in the rain." Yes, it sounds a little crazy even as I type it, but it truly was one of the hardest nights of my life.
The dilemma that hit my sister and I afterwards was the upkeep of her grave. It is a beautiful location where the branches of old live oak branches bend down creating canopies of shade and a feeling of peacefulness. But, neither of us live there now and we cannot expect our Dad to make a weekly trip out there to pull weeds. So, we rely on the cemetery staff to make sure it looks OK.
I'm sure I'll venture out there today when I get to town and I'll probably have to pull a few weeds and dust away some old grass clippings. Mom would probably shake her head as to why I even bother. I do it out of respect for her memory. Maybe I do it just to be able to "care" for her even though she's no longer here. But mostly, I do it so I can take a moment to sit under that big oak tree, listen to the windchime hanging from its branch and talk to Mom about what's been going on in my life. I know she's always with me in my heart, but there is something about reading the epitaph etched into her headstone that makes me feel better. It says "Go Ye Now in Peace...." and as I start the car and slowly drive away, that's exactly what I do.....