Sunday, April 19, 2015
'burying' my mother
A small box with blue stickers reading "cremated remains" has sat on a nearby shelf while winter came and went. The weather was cold and slippery and I knew that approaching the river at Chapel Falls would be a dicey business, so I waited. My mother died Jan. 11 at 98.
My younger son said he would prefer to go today, but I have a hunch he might rather not go at all. The whole thing has a weird quality -- or anyway an off-the-beaten track element -- about it. Since I am not entirely clear in my own mind about what, if anything, the adventure is supposed to 'mean,' I am not inclined to press him with stylized or ritualized appreciations that a religious person might bring to bear.
First, it is a promise I made and I like to keep the promises I make. But after that, I'm not sure what to think/feel and have pretty much given myself permission not-to-know ... the thoughts and feelings will assert themselves when they are ready.
Second, I do like thinking my mother might like the setting and the simplicity of the setting and the uncertainty that lives under the human potential to control and understand. Knowing may be the habit but not-knowing is the human rule. Of course, my mother is no longer around to correct my appreciation of what her appreciation might be, so ... well, how can I go wrong?
Third, my mother was an honorable person and I wish to honor her. She wasn't always easy, but she was honorable. Chapel Falls strikes me as an honorable place.
Today is supposed to be a nice day and it would be nice to drive up to Chapel Falls. As a concession to the occasion, I think I will bring a piece of incense. Incense doesn't complain or explain or have a meaning.
But it smells good, even when it disappears.