Sunday, April 24, 2011


When my MIL died on Christmas we had no funeral, no service - according to her wishes. She was cremated and we brought the ashes home where the box has been sitting in my living room for months.

We decided to hold a small graveside service in the spring, and in consultation with DH's aunt, (MIL's sister) we picked the Saturday before Easter. We figured it would be nice weather, we could spend the weekend in New York with the old aunt and uncle, and everything would be fine.

Thursday night we heard from the Aunt that she has an infection on her leg and is in the hospital. So she can't come, but we're going to do it anyway - the plans are all made and mentally we're ready. We plan to drive to New York for the day only, hoping for nice weather.

Typically yesterday was a rainy, rainy cold day - so rainy that we couldn't talk in the car as he had to pay attention completely to the road.

Really, how nasty is it to be at a graveside service, with the rain chucking down, and the cold wind blowing. It was so classically awful that I couldn't believe it, it was movie quality awful.
We had the service under umbrella's, wept, hugged and then it was done.

Since she's been dead for 4 months, I didn't expect much emotion in a way, but I also didn't expect that having this funeral would mean so much to me - i.e. bringing it home that she's really gone. It struck me very hard that this was it, done, finito. But I also had a very strong feeling of closure - which is good, very good.

The best thing about the day was that a semi-estranged niece came for service - drove down from Maine with her partner for this event. We haven't seen this niece for about 4 years - lots of baggage there but she came thru in the end and it was much appreciated. We had lunch together after the service catching up, and then we both drove the 3 and 5 hours back to our respective homes. We're hoping for somewhat closer relations with this niece, but will not hold our breaths.

The cemetery was one of those where they have lines and lines of mausoleums - all built in different styles. Some are like Gothic churches, there was one made mostly of glass (do they expect anyone to enjoy the view from inside?)

I decided that I would like either a replica of a thatched cottage or a pyramid with the walls covered with art inside. Since I think either one of those would cost a ton of money, I guess I do plan on "taking it with me". I think it would be interesting to build something like that, and suddenly understood the power of planning for this inevitable event.

We also had to go to the monument place to etch MIL's name on the headstone and while there, I was fascinated by a life side statue of an angel. It was all smooth, and must have been made by sandblasting instead of actual carving. So I also decided that - perhaps in front of the thatched cottage - I should have a life size, or close to life size - statue of Miss Em, with her yellow shoes. She wouldn't have to be sad as in the picture below, but rather welcoming in her cheery way.

Well...whatever it takes to get thru a difficult day is OK with me. Imagination helps, family helps more.

Have a lovely Easter day if you celebrate, or simply get together with friends and family. What could be better!


soulbrush said...

What a sad yet uplifting post Mim, filled with emotional tributes, and hope for future reconciliation with your niece. What else is there in life? Happy Easter to you and Mr T too.

sukipoet said...

beautiful that you all did this for your MIL. Love your fantasies of you own gravesite esp Miss Em. That would bring a smile to the lips of those coming to the graveyard. Glad you reconnected with niece and hope things go well in that relationship. Hugs to you, suki

studio lolo said...

having shared the same awful weather Saturday, I could feel your pain. I love that you said it was "in the movies' awful. I get it.

Your wishes of Ms. Em instead of a life size angel made me smile. I guess we really do have to think about that day eventually. I have often picked out the music I wanted to try to give those left behind a "feeling of me."

Closer is so good Mim. I hope T feels it as well.
I'm glad you had a safe drive in that downpour.

easter blessings to you both.


Robin said...

Oh Mim, what a day for you all...
I can visualise the scene in "Our Town" where everyone stands under a sea of black umbrellas and the rain pours down..

Death is not easy to accept....even when one knows it is coming....and it is always harder on those left behind.

I do love your Miss Em comment.... that would indeed make all of us smile.... humour, smiles are much as tears and heartache.

I hope your Niece comes to realise how lucky she is to have Family....being a part of something is such a gift.

Sending you many hugs,


♥ Robin ♥

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh Mim, it sounds like a day in hell. I hope that you all find peace. I hope Ms Em is with you always.

Lynn said...

Oh Mim, what a day you had. Such a mix of emotions. Expected and unexpected...emotions, family members, feelings. And then to start planning your own "resting place"...oh my. It did bring smiles and chuckles thinking of Ms Em looking out for and over you in the end. Perhaps I'll need to acquire a whole circle of clay women to surround my "spot" representing all my friends here in and closer to home friends too. And color fabric prayer flags to fly in the breeze.
Let's hope all that is a long ways off.

Grandparents name is Corren. Who knows what it got changed from when Grandpa Abe arrived from Russia at age sixteen at Ellis Island. Cousins? I'd like that!

Sweet blessings regarding the "closure" for your dear mother.

Hugs from me.
And happy holidays...

kj said...

with much sympathy for having the service in the rain, may i also say on our behalf (yours and mine) that this is no way to have spring. the buds and flowers are waiting and waiting for the sun and instead they and we keep having rain.

did you leave stones on the grave, mim? at my beloved friend willa's service in the the bronx, it touched my heart so deeply to lay those stones. you were the best daughter in law, mim. i'm glad you have a sense of closure.

with love

Lori ann said...

i'm so glad for you that you had the closure you need.

i agree about the mausoleum, they are built for the dead but really for the living. cemetarys make me uncomfortable. not death, but cemetarys. even if it is a fact of life it's never easy.

i hope you are feeling well and didn't get chilled out in the rain! (i'm hoping for sun for you too).

marianne said...

What a movie like scenario indeed.....
I just love sunny weather at a funeral or service......
But I hope it was beautiful in another way. The rain just emphasizes your sad feeling for having to miss her.
Hope you will stay in contact with your niece.

Take care MIm!

Katiejane said...

Ah Mim, you are so brave. I still have my DH's ashes and can't seem to part with them. I had wanted to do it this spring but we didn't want to be underground and I can't find an internment cemetary nearby. I don't think I want to scatter, so I guess he'll just stay here with me a little longer.
Glad you got throught the unpleasant day okay.

Baino said...

Yes, yes, Miss Em would be perfect. Sorry, running late and catchng up after three weeks vacation. I know what you mean about closure but I'm sorry the weather was so dour. I hope you do keep in touch with your niece.