When we were children (there were seven of us, and I am assuming that others got roped into this, each in their turn), Dad hired us during May and as needed during summer school vacations to maintain the grounds of the village cemetery where he was the groundskeeper and sexton. He didn’t retire until he was in his 90s. There was particular need for us children to prepare the cemetery for Memorial Day and to refurbish things after the influx of visitors during the following months. My brother Tim and I worked together, being close in age, and we would pass the time by challenging each other with such miscellanea as state and country capitols and other interesting trivia.
My mother died three years ago, this month, and my father followed her three-and-a-half months later. Their ashes are buried next to the family monument, near two siblings whose lives were measured in days.
within the past three years… Suddenly, I’m homesick
for a place I’ve never seen.
Mourning seems to come in waves. In the midst of happiness, remembered losses beg not to be forgotten. That’s a trap, I think. The insistence of the mind on revisiting those intense emotions, long after one has moved on. The bittersweet taste of loves and friends and family set aside until time ends, or else, renews all things.
As the years go by, I find myself thinking more frequently about staking out more formal times for solitude. Initiating rather than reacting. Turning inward. Perhaps I am more easily distracted, these days, and troubled more by externals that interrupt my thoughts. And then I review the proclivities of my past and recognize that there always has been a struggle for more isolation…for fewer interruptions and broader perspectives. I like the quiet that allows thoughts and images to flow together. The currents and their directions, the coming together and the divergence. Spontaneity, the mind at peace.
Memorial Day was “our” family holiday. It’s now my remembering. After my parents were discharged, they returned to Father’s home town to realize their life’s long-held dream of raising lots of children, together. (Eventually, there were nine of us, seven living into adulthood.) My father was groundskeeper (one of many jobs) and then the sexton, of the village cemetery, and we children, while growing up, worked with him to get the grounds ready for the Memorial Day observances. Mother was in the Navy, and Father was in the Army, separated overseas, but both serving in the Pacific Theater. (In uniform).
Forecast for the week is for nighttime lows in the 30s and low 40s (although not below freezing), cold and gusty wind.
I decided not to post a couple of the poems that I wrote during April, so my count on this site comes up short. I fell ill from an infected wound, and so I have been sleeping a lot and taking antibiotics every six hours. I will be so happy to have more than five hours of sleep in a stretch…you wouldn’t believe! Follow-up appointment later this week.