It being All Souls Day today, it only feels appropriate to share:
Mom’s burial was on October 19th, a beautiful crisp fall day, her birthday. What a gift to have the sun shining and beautiful fall colours surrounding us as our family gathered to bury mom’s ashes. For me, the experience felt both surreal and painfully real. There was curiosity and attention to the logistics of how burials happen, wondering who says or does what, what’s underneath the green tarp, how deep the hole is, how the stone is placed, what we do before the hole is filled, what we do after etc. And then there was the heart squeezing emotion of being hit with the shock that these are OUR mom’s ashes, that this is not some sort of rehearsal or a movie, that it’s happening here and now, that this is mom’s birthday, that this is the day we say goodbye, that this is indeed our life and our reality now.
Yes, the reality is still shocking whether it’s a little thought that creeps up in the middle of the day or night, or a family member’s birthday celebration, or walking into mom and dad’s place and somehow expecting to see her in her apron in the kitchen as the smell of something delicious wafts toward me. I know many of us have experienced losses in our lives and share similar experiences, yet it’s so unique and personal for each of us. There are the unexpected triggers (which feel like landmines at times!) vs the welcome joys of a laugh-out-loud memory; then there is the inability to listen to an old voicemail vs desperately wanting to hear the voice and longing to engrave it in memory forever; and then there is the avoidance of looking at photos or videos (so hard for me!) vs being drawn to stand face to face with a photo and looking deep into mom’s knowing eyes.
There is no formula or a consistent way of feeling. What feels good one minute can feel terrible the next, what’s unbearable one moment can seem totally feasible (even silly) the next. And how frustrating it can be not to know how to reproduce one of mom’s recipes or make a family gathering feel so warm and welcoming as only she could! I know – I don’t need to explain this to anyone who ever lost a loved one. It’s simply a process we each have to, or will have to go through at certain times in our lives. Being patient and gentle with oneself (…and others) can sometimes be a tall order, I find. Yet we continue to walk this journey, both individually and collectively supporting one another best as we can and our faith reminds us that God is with us and in control as He always is. It being the month of November, the month of Holy Souls and a time to remember and pray for all those who died, we are reminded we are all just pilgrims here on this beautiful planet earth; our faith teaches us that mom’s death was in fact her birth into a new life which we hope to share in one day too. Yes our faith teaches us all of this, yet on a very human level, there is pain and discomfort in the adjustment and “recalibration” as a family – mom is simply missed.
As promised, here is some helpful information for those who wish to visit mom’s grave at Robinson Memorial Park Cemetery.
The cemetery is located at: 621 Robinson St, Coquitlam, BC V3J 0A6, parking is available on Robinson street. You will find her marker in Section E Cremation, as marked by the yellow star in the image of the cemetery map below.
This is the marker you will be looking for – “my Lord and my God” as per mom’s wishes:
Thank you for all your prayers for mom and for all the Holy Souls this month of November.