My father took red roses to my mother’s grave today. I went with him to buy the roses—plastic, long-stemmed copies of the real thing. Artificial baby’s breath round out the bouquet, which he put in the marble vase where her ashes lie.
Whatever remains of my grandmother and grandfather since they died, years ago, now lie near my mother’s grave. These are my father’s parents, not hers, and my father’s name is already etched in the tombstone he will share with my mother.
To be truthful, I doubt that my mother needs the comfort of proximity to her in-laws now. I like to think that she is unencumbered by protocol and customary expectations in her new form. She lives wherever and however she wants and she is energetic and youthful and pain-free. She is not lying below the ground.
Cemeteries are for the living. Spirits long gone do not live below earth except in the form of rooted oaks and baby acorns or the iris clump that started from bulb taken from my great-grandmother’s garden. They lie in the wisp of white cloud against sapphire blue skies, dipping and swirling to touch the mountain top. They can be heard in wind moving through the pines and in birdsong that plays before the rest of the world awakes.
That hummingbird I hear just now may be my mother. I can imagine her flitting around, saying hello with a trill of noise and a flash of velvety green that I see from the corner of my eye.
Or she might be riding on one of those great, big beautiful clouds.
No matter which, I know she’s there.
I took these pictures of clouds on a visit to the ghost town of Caribou, Colorado.
There is more about Caribou in my post on Through the Lens of We.
And if you missed out, I hope you will check out the photography and thoughts at some of my other posts there: