In the United States, it is Memorial Day – a day for remembering those who have died. Formerly, the date was always May 30th; now the date floats so mourners can have a long weekend. Today’s Writers Almanac cheekily suggests that since the day is now always the last Monday in May (to give everyone a three-day weekend to grieve), it’s a day for shopping, lounging about, firing up the barbeque, and watching the Indianapolis 500.
Tidying up the cemetery, planting flowers, and paying our respects seems to be lost.
Although, that said, I’m as guilty as the general population. My departed mother lies in a mighty attractive urn on the mantle of my sister’s fireplace. Mom has been there for years. She has lain there so long that the urn has become in itself a featured piece – far removed as the receptacle of our mother’s ashes.
My sister and I plan to drive Mom from Texas to New Mexico, tidy Daddy’s grave, and plant Mom beside him… some day… in the near future.
But time seems to work against us. Between my travel schedule and my sister’s work schedule and the distance involved, interring Mom has yet to happen. If this sounds cold, let me add that we have both looked hard at the very attractive urn, and we have both wondered it Mom might be planted in something less… less wonderful. What a shame to put such a beautiful urn in the ground when it could be on display. Nevertheless, we are not as craven as you think. We have talked it over. We have taken the high ground. Mom can have her urn… when the time comes.
Today’s Writers Almanac entry was particularly good. You can find the homepage by going to http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org Once there, if you go to the right of the screen, you can download or listen to Garrison Keillor read the day’s entry. Or, you can subscribe to receive the free daily newsletter.
Today’s almanac entry mentioned http://FindAGrave.com. What a resource! I immediately went to the site – wondering if Daddy’s grave was registered. Well, as it turns out, you have to be famous to be listed. That ruled Daddy out. Just to see what was on offer, I typed in Frida Kahlo. Very nice! And below Frida Kahlo there was Frieda Lawrence. What fun. If you are not decorating a personal grave today, you could spend time seeking out the graves of your favorite strangers.