By Coleen Ellis
As we sit on the brink of Memorial Day weekend, I can almost peg to the detail what’s going on with my Mom at home. For a week or so, she’s been carefully picking the prettiest light pink, dark pink, and white peonies from her flower garden, gently wrapping their stems in damp towels and putting them in the basement refrigerator, preserving them for this weekend’s trip to the cemetery.
She’s got her routine of the grave sites these works of art will be placed upon. They’ll join countless other bouquets of flowers and bundles of wheat stalks on my dad’s grave and my other relatives resting places. On my dad’s marker, she’ll might also tuck a Coors Light and a Kool cigarette. Even though those two things drove her crazy when he was alive, it was two things he enjoyed.
Grandma’s grave will be loaded with flowers and Christmas trinkets (her FAVORITE holiday!) from her 9 surviving children, 35 grandchildren and 51 great-grandchildren. It’s not hard to stand at her resting place and be able to tell a story, about life and more so about love.
I really do miss those days of trekking to the country cemeteries and paying my respects as well. It’s one of those things with the fast-paced nature of our world that just gets lost in the day-to-day. Knowing there’s a three-day weekend approaching, taking some time to chill is what calls me first before a drive home to help Mom with “Decoration Day.”
However, as I get older, these rituals are becoming more and more special and important. Life becomes more precious as I start to see so much more death with my friend’s parents and grand parents.
So for this year, I’m starting my own ritual. I won’t be home to help Mom decorate, but I’m going to put out my own bouquets of peonies, light a candle and remember. From those buried in my hometown country cemeteries, to my precious Mico. For this Memorial weekend, I’ll take time to remember, to honor and to pay my respects for those who have been a part of the make up of my fabric of life.
Rest In Peace, My Loves. RIP.