Monday, December 14, 2009
The Emotions of Honor
bumps of snow, puddles of brown water from a recent early snowfall, the course sitting well below the easy winding road. This time of year, it's barren. On the left, is an endless row of regal, tall,black iron, pointed arrow-like fencing, protecting the still green landscape. Scattered mounds of evergreens, lifting from the ground, bedecked with oversized ribbons in bright red, baby blue, sunshine yellow, or royal purple, embracing valuble memories like the blankets they represent. It's really beautiful, manicured and lush, even with the fine mist in the air, setting off an occassional swish of the windshield wiper. As I approach the entry way, there's a point when the car turns into the grand gates, mirror images of tall trees, lining either side. Elegant. peaceful, all perfectly thought out and deliberate. Here, at the end of the lane, I see a larger than life, bronze religious figure, with open welcoming arms looking toward me with downcast eyes and tilted head. Cold, huge, an icon. And yet, even in it's coldness, it is comforting. This is where it happens,riight here, everytime, that tighting of my stomach, the dryness and closing of my throat, the letting down of emotions, my eyes welling with tears, but not enough to fall. I already have tissues stuffed into my pocket when the need arises. It's the first turn to the right, I know the route well. Two lanes down, and I see the marker. Number Eleven. I look for a big boxy granite marker as my landmark leading me to my destination. It's so ostentacious, but right for someone, that one. But not for who I am looking for. I could find my way from here in the dark. I don't have to look or read or count, I walk and stop, as if hands from above had guided my shoulders to this exact spot. I know I am here. My eyes look down and rest on two copper colored granite headstones with engravings, a few words on each stone, holding the responsibility of forever. I read their names. And the tears flood as if they have been damned up too long. My parents. Here. Now.
I am amazed at how much time has passed everytime I come. It didn't seem that long ago, and sometimes it feels like forever. Has it really been that many years now? I can't pray here. I have to wait until I leave. I find humor easier. I can hear my Mother, her voice as was her way, demanding, "Where are our grave blankets, others have them already?", always the early bird, the task finisher. "They're coming Oma", as if she can hear me. "Real soon, in the next few days, they'll be beautiful". I can see the corners of her mouth curl up into a smile. Glancing to the left just seemingly inches away, Dad's place, "I'll bring a beer when the weather warms, Opa, too cold now." I laugh, I hear his voice telling his same jokes, the same ones he laughed at himself each time, before he ever got to the punch line. There are more places to visit, more tears to shed, more memories to celebrate, for my parents and for other loved ones. Special people with sacred places in my heart. That's to share with you another time. This time is to honor my parents, with love.