Today’s A-to-Z Challenge letter is S for “Saying Goodbye”--
My mom was an avid gardener and tried to always make whatever patch of land or pot of dirt much prettier and greener than she found it. She also was passionate about conserving our national parks and the plants and animals that call them “home.” So, what better day and better week to lay my mom to rest than on Earth Day during National Park Week.
After many days of cold and/or rain, Mom’s “Return to Earth” day was warm and sunny. We wanted it to be a small and intimate event with just the family and her best friend, Dolores, attending so I rented a big white passenger van to transport us all together down to the cemetery.
When we made this same trip 10 years ago to bury my stepdad, it was a hot summer day and we had a rather “slap happy” long drive to the cemetery after 4 days of mourning, so we anticipated that today would be more filled with fun than with sorrow. Traveling together, indeed, made it felt like one of the many family road trips we had taken in the motorhome with plenty of laughter and singing.
My mom loved, absolutely LOVED, going out for brunch and so we decided to do a late morning brunch to one of her favorite restaurants, Egg Harbor Café. Thankfully, eating there on a Monday was far less crowded than a Sunday!
After tummies were full, we headed down to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery just south of Joliet, Illinois. The cemetery was only 4 years old when my stepdad was buried there in 2003. It is now significantly more occupied, and when the trees begin blooming in a few weeks, will look quite peaceful and lovely.
Since my stepdad and mom were cremated, their remains are a stone wall columbarium that is quietly tucked away at the edge of the woods. There are stone benches also built into the structure and it’s a lovely place to sit and listen to birds singing.
Rest in peace, Mom.