Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

I visited my mother's resting place this morning on the way to work. I use the euphemism 'resting place' because her bones lay in mausoleum. Her choice, by the way. She didn't like the idea of cremation, but liked the idea of worms less. She called it a 'filing cabinet.' So, not really a grave in the traditional six-feet-under kind of way.

Anyway, it didn't seem right to celebrate this holiday season without being in her company. Some of you may think that I am always in her company, that her essence, her soul, her spirit, is forever tethered to me. But me? While I believe in a spiritual afterlife, I really hope that she's enjoying her eternal glory and not worrying about my mopey ass.

I pulled into Parkwood Cemetery a few minutes before nine. As I rolled past 'Heroes' Garden,' I saw one other person on the grounds. He was walking a dog. Which annoyed me. I mean, dude, who lets his dog whiz on a tombstone?  Maybe he didn't plan to "let" that happen, but I don't see how a dog could pass by that many obelisks without lifting a leg.


I drove down Gethsemane Lane to the mausoleums at the back of the property. Today is cold, like you'd expect in December, but not freezing.  Mom's spot, which will one day be my parents' spot, is in the bottom row. I squatted and brushed away the few leaves that had collected in front, wishing that I'd brought something that I could prop against the granite slab. Some marker of my presence. But, the problem with spontaneity is that it goes hand-in-hand with a lack of preparedness.

Instead, I pulled off my gloves and pressed my palm flat to her name, feeling the chiseled indentations.

"I miss you, Mom," I whispered. That's about all I ever say. What else is there to say?  That's what it boils down to:  I miss her.  Deeply.

After a few minutes, I saw a worm squinching past, unable to invade the building. It made me smile, because Mom's plan was kind of working out with respect to the filing cabinet.

"Merry Christmas, Mom."

I stood, dusted my hands together, and drove off.  At the final turn, the one that would lead me from the cemetery, I caught sight of the man and his dog. He stood in front of a small tombstone, with his head bowed. His dog stood guard next to him, still as a statue, and definitely not whizzing on the graves.

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