Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Giving Thanks

I was informed yesterday that the gravestone has been placed at my mom's burial site. I tried to reassure myself that this doesn't change anything. Her death isn't any more final than it was before. But it was still a reminder and it affected me in a stronger way than I expected.

I saw a photo of the gravestone. Seeing a loved one's date of birth and date of death chiseled into stone is startling. Nothing about a rock and a small hole in the ground have anything to do with my mother. But there was her full name, laid bare, exposed to the elements. Her epitaph says "Beloved wife, mother and friend." It's perfect. And those words ripped my heart out.

In the picture, I could see the sod around the gravestone - it looked like patchwork where it was torn up and replaced. If only my heart was so easily pieced back together.


Today a friend wished me a happy Thanksgiving and said, "All the firsts will be hard." She's right. But the holidays this year aren't really the first. Mom didn't celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas with us last year, either. And it's still hard.


I'm looking forward to seeing my siblings tomorrow, sharing a meal, and taking refuge in each others' company. It will be loud. We will laugh until our sides hurt. Our spouses will roll their eyes. My nephew will entertain us all with his 14-month-old charm and charisma. There is still so much to be grateful for.


I wish you a day of celebration tomorrow, wherever you may be and whoever you share it with.


1 comment:

  1. Reading that reminded me of my Mom's memorial service. We didn't have a funeral for her until several months after she died. Dad decided to wait until all of us, friends and family, could make arrangements to be there. And, since Mom had been cremated, there really wasn't any need to rush the ceremony. During the time before the service Dad did some "arranging" and so what we attended was a military funeral, complete with a color guard, a trumpeter playing taps and a rifle salute. Both my parents served in the Navy, during World War II and, in fact, that is where they met, fell in love and got married. Mom was always dismissive of her military service and claimed she'd only joined to get out of Woodlake, Nebraska, which is the dry, dusty little town where she'd been teaching grade school. But Dad was fiercely proud of her, as were her three boys. The marker Dad had made for her burial place had her name and rank: Winona Harris, Aviation Mate 2nd Class, United States Navy, 1919 -1996. The thought that my parents were able to think of a future together, despite a war threatening everyone's there any reason to wonder why they remain heroes to me?