Death is a normal part of life and we see it every day. Flowers bloom with vibrant colors and scents. We are happy to put them in vases to gaze at their beauty. A few days later they die and we throw them away and replace them with new flowers. It is easy to see how the life process works; it seems so simple. However, when the death process happens to our loved ones, we have so many emotions that we deal with for days, weeks, month and years. I have recently had a significant loss in my family. Three months ago my Grammy passed away. I saw her every day for the last 3 ½ years. I still think of her every day. We were fortunate that Grammy had shared with us all her wishes, and she had her burial arrangements made and paid for. As we sat waiting to talk to the cemetery specialist, we started talking about what type of burial or memorial we wanted to have at the cemetery. I had never really thought about my personal memorial because I had decided to donate my body to science. However, it did begin to get me thinking about whether or not I want to have a place for people to come to remember me after I have transitioned from this life.
About a month later I was back at the cemetery for another funeral for the other side of my family, and I decided to stop by to visit Grammy. This time my younger sister was with me and she was talking about how she doesn’t believe in being buried because once your soul is gone there is no reason to make people come and look at a plaque in ground. I used to have the same thoughts when I was younger. I think she had some other comments but I was focused on thinking about Grammy and how much I missed her. As I leaned over her grave I did feel a sense of love and connection for this great woman who was so influential in my life. It was a quiet place to block out all of my thoughts and just focus on my relationship between me and Grammy.
This past weekend I was back at the cemetery to put flowers and a flag on my Grammy and Grandpa’s graves. I decided that I’m glad that I have a quiet place to come and sit or kneel or stand and spend time with my family. I know that they are not alive and with me there but there is something sacred, at least to me, about going to the spot that is marked for them and being with their memories for a few minutes. It is different than when I think about them in the yard cutting flowers or when I pass their picture. I like having a separate place to go and visit them. So I think I have changed my mind about not having a burial or at least a memorial site. I hope when I pass I will have people that want to have a place in nature to come and spend a few quiet moments with me every once in a while. I certainly have a new appreciation for it since my Grammy died.