Don’t Tell Me How to Remember

I was asked, a few times, why I don’t like to go to the cemetery where my parents’ urn has been placed….

First, it really isn’t anyone’s business but if someone is crass enough to question this – here is my answer:

I have gone, but the result is not what my parents would have wanted. Neither of them were known to make visits to their own parent’s graves. They both hated it and I know why…it is pointless.

I went yesterday and placed a few flowers in a vase, in front of a marble columbarium. There was a plaque with Mom and Dad’s date of birth and their deaths. A cold structure that does not reflect them or my memories of them. The visit did not elicit warm fuzzies but instead, brought back nothing but sadness, heartache and grief. If you knew my folks, you would know that this would have been anathema to them.

I remember my folks, daily – not a day goes by without a memory flooding back. A happy memory. A smile in my heart.

Yesterday, I stood there, in front of that monstrosity and cried. After 6 ½ years of my Dad’s leaving us and 3 years to the day of my Mom being gone, I still cried. This isn’t what either of them would have me do.

My memories of my parents are in my heart, in my brain and they are good memories. They are happy memories. It is how they would have wanted to be remembered. Now, I must spend a good amount of time, wiping the thought of that plaque, the cemetery, regardless of the scenery, from my mind. Nothing happy is connected to that place.

I don’t know why I went to the cemetery. So that tongues wouldn’t wag? Possibly. No…probably.

I won’t do it again. No one has the right to determine how I choose to remember my parents. If I choose to avoid a place of endings, of death, of grief and choose instead to recall happy times through memory and through photos, that is my choice and a choice of which my parents would approve.

Keep memory in your own way and allow others to keep memory in their way. Few things are as personal as honouring loved ones who have left us.

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