Burial in the Mountains





Today was my aunt's mass and burial in the Catskills.

It was a lovely day, the sun was shining, occasional clouds floated in the cerulean sky.The rain has made the vegetation a brilliant green, and the creek's reflections of blues and greens were vivid against the pale creek stones.

I no longer attend mass, but the priest and the mass were lovely. He emanated joy and love of the Lord and his people, so unlike so many other priests I had encountered in my years of Catholic education. I liked that he quoted scripture from the Jews, and made a few references to what some might call "New Age Modern Philosophy". He was caring, kind, and personable. He made me smile.

My brother spoke about my aunt so eloquently. It was a beautiful memorial to her, and for once, I did not stand up and add to the conversation.

I wasn't sure where in the cemetery she was going to be buried, and it was next to my father's gravestone.....in a plot that had been purchased by the family some time ago. I know I will be able to find it again, as it is a plot with lots of space, as most of us are still living.

It was strange as I had not been back to his grave since he died in 1977. Maybe once perhaps...but if I did I have blocked it out. I wondered how I would feel...but I felt nothing. No pain, no tears, no sorrow for him, but at least I no longer felt anger. It was a blessed nothingness.

My aunt was cremated and buried next to him in a lovely pink jar, and we all placed pink carnations around it. We said a few prayers, and then left. As I drove away, I saw Mark, one of the funeral directors, place her urn in the hole, and shovel dirt over her, his dark suit forming a silhouette....

We went to Tiso's, my aunt's favorite place for lunch. It was lovely to celebrate her past life and her next life with my family...cousins, my cousin's children, my other aunts, and brothers and sisters, and some friends. Later we stopped at my Auntie Mo's home on the Esopus Creek, which lies EXACTLY opposite from the cottage that my aunt Peg stayed in for so much of her life, the very stream that she fished, and I could see the rocks that I played on as a child. It was from a different view both physically and metaphorically. Today was a day for only good memories and I am sure it is exactly how she would have wanted it.

Aunt Peg was a wonderful woman, a humble and compassionate aunt. She never complained about what life had given her, even on her deathbed riddled with cancer. She will be missed.

I worry about my Aunt Anne, who has spent her entire life living with her. There is no will, no money to support the three properties that her sister owned. I guess it is another lesson on taking it one day a time. And may I have strength and patience to give to her when she needs to cry, ask me a question, or wants to talk.

It was a profound day is so many ways.....and I know that if I even want to talk to her...she is in right there... in my heart.

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