Mom died in 2008.
Since she's been gone, all but two of my aunts and uncles have also passed. I tried to make it to each of their funerals, and I sang at most of them. They were 250 miles away, for the most part, so I didn't get to know them as well as other relatives.
Because Mom wanted to be buried with her family, we carried her there and had a second funeral service for her friends and the family that couldn't come to the one where we live. The cemetery is smack dab in the middle of her little town.
I've been there many times. I usually took the kids with me, until they decided they were grown up and wanted to do other things. For the most part I ended up going alone. Once at the entrance to the cemetery, it was easy to find Mom. She, along with almost all of her family, lay in the area along the row of trees in the middle of the expanse of graves. Granddad made sure there would be enough spaces for all five of his girls, along with their husbands, in the same area. He even bought a couple of extra lots where two of my cousins were buried.
We offered to buy plots all together here when Mom realized she wouldn't be around much longer. Try as we might, she was determined to be buried with her "family" down home. We made it happen, but we weren't happy with it. The main problem we have is getting down there to put flowers on her grave. It's a long trip to make in a day, and then come home again.
This week we didn't have to worry about it. The Girl had to attend a bachelorette party in a neighboring town, so she stopped there on the way back home. What she didn't count on were the feelings and emotions she would have going there by herself.
She walked up to a cousin who died in a sledding accident at 13 and placed a stem of flowers in his vase. Then there was her great-uncle and great-aunt. Next she saw her great grandfather and great grandmother. But as she walked up to her grandmother's headstone, she started crying and couldn't stop. She sat down on the grass in front of the stone, and told Mom all about the things in her life that had happened or were going to happen. She told her how much she was missed, and how The Girl remembered and now appreciated so many things Mom had done for her.
After crying her tears dry, she kissed the stone and left. Somehow I think she left with a new understanding of not only loving the people who are important to you, but showing that love every day.
She came home a different woman, my daughter. And I am glad.