Last mother's day, Gregory and I invited our mothers to join us for the weekend. We bought some beautiful long stem red roses, put them in a vase on the kitchen island, and next to the flowers put a picture of Helen (Gregory's Mom) and Adeline (my mom.)
Every meal was spent sitting at the counter visiting with them, remembering them, missing them. Dealing with the sadness of their being dead and the joy of their continuing love, I got to thinking of other dead relatives and realized that I did not remember where my grandmother (on my mother's side) and my grandmother and grandfather (on my father's side) were buried. Now that most of my older relatives are dead I realized that there was no one to ask about this. I felt bad that in some ways their graves were lost forever. I really had no idea of their location.
Gregory and I will be cremated when we die. My ashes will go to the circus and his to Lake Michigan. It was a hard decision to make and one which I agonized over for weeks before we had our appointment with the attorney who was going to draw up our will. The decision became easy when I realized that it wasn't a question of wanting to be buried or cremated but rather ... I DIDN"T WANT TO DIE!
The joke behind our cremation is that I am not sure if I should go to the circus before or after the elephants parade and Gregory's ashes could get to Lake Michigan most quickly by being flushed down the toilet (after a brief service in the bathroom of course.)
Back to my grandparents, it was difficult to think of graves being FOREVER when life is not. I also thought about how people die, are buried, their relatives die and the graves become lost, unknown, unvisited. How sad.
As I was drifting off to sleep on Sunday night after Mother's Day, I was "putting my mother away" in my mind after having called her up for the weekend and thinking, "Wouldn't it be nice if she could come back to visit." In that instant the name, "Waldheim Jewish Memorial Cemetery" came into my mind. Also in that instant I had a mind picture of my mom and dad holding hands and smiling at me.
So, I do believe. I went online and googled "Waldheim" and sure enough it was a Jewish cemetery. I found their web site and there was an inquiry link. I filled out the information and sent it. I anxiously awaited confirmation of my mom and dad's visit.
About a week later I received this e-mail. Seeing my grandparents names in print and their end of life information was somehow reassuring. I am not one to hold on to old traditions but this time I think Gregory and I will plan to go visit their graves and put a stone on their headstones to show that someone was there. That someone still cares. That they are still remembered. Life is short lived, death is forever. But maybe the dead still watch and listen.