This was my first memorial day since moving back to Utah. More significantly, it is the first Memorial Day back in Utah since my mother passed away.
As children, my brothers and I would gather pebbles into a large mason jar for my mother. She would then wrap it in tin foil, and fill it with water. My mom would carefully arrange irises or her favorite flower, sweet smelling lilacs. We would then go to the cemetery to visit the headstone of the grandparents I never knew, my mother's parents.
It was the same every year. She would arrange her flower arrangement on her parents headstone while reminding us to not walk over the burial site. Without fail she would begin to cry as she attempted to tell us stories about her parents but could never quite choke out the words. My mom always felt badly that her children never knew the love of her parents.
I'm sorry to say it was uncomfortable for us to see our mother crying. There was nothing we could do to ease her pain. And we were quickly distracted by all the flowers, the gun salute, or the Christus statue. On more than one occassion my brothers were in trouble for climbing on Christ. But not me, I knew it would be morally wrong to scale the Savior.
This Memorial Day I gathered my children to go to the same cemetery with me. Okay, gather sounds so dignified. I wrestled my children into the car and told them we were going to my mother's grave.
I wanted to bring lilacs but the few I had on my young lilac bush had already died. I could have stopped at the store to find something my mom would have liked. But after12 1/2 years I find the thought of bringing flowers to my mother overwhelming. It is as if bringing a budding rose would make her death a reality. Even now, I find it hard to wrap my mind around the fact she is gone.
We arrived at the cemetery. Where my mother is buried next to her parents. The same place I once ran around the flags pierced into the ground surrounding the headstones as my mom cried. Only this time it was me crying. My own children were uncomfortable with my tears as I had once been with my mother's cry. My kidlets ran, circled the Christus, and knocked over flower vases. I had come full circle.
I now know personally the pain my mother felt over the absence of her beloved mom. And as I stood next to the resting place of my mother, I understood her pain. And I never felt more alone.