Monday, December 29, 2014

A Post Christmas Post

After a hectic week of running to and fro, cooking for two days for an army (with the help of my oldest granddaughter), doing dishes resulting from said cooking (with the help of my daughter-in-law --DIL), washing towels for the army, and cleaning house after the troop evacuated, I now sit here to catch you up.

David and his family came in on the 19th and the house quickly felt as if it would explode. There were six of us in here. I marvel that I raised two boys and a dog in this house and sometimes had a sister in residence. A couple of times I had a son with a spouse and then a son, spouse and child. both times it was for more than a year. In less than 1200 square feet. But we did it and I don't recall ever feeling crowded. And yet, when holidays roll around and everyone is here the house feels as if it will explode and I with it. 

But it didn't and neither did I. We had a great time I think. The kids got along well, with only minor nitpicking here and there. The names are withheld to protect the innocent. Wait. There were no innocent children. Still, disputes were few and that's an amazing feat in so small a space. 

I'm a neat freak but with this many folks in a space, it is all but impossible. I know that the DIL washed dishes for two days and that was only what we used to cook. We used paper plates and plastic cups and utensils for eating. Had we not, well I shudder to think of the amount of dishes we'd have had to deal with. Someone needs a dishwasher... {sigh} and the money to buy it with. 

We decided to open gifts and do our dinner on Christmas Eve. My sister had to work Christmas Day. As it turned out, we were so exhausted on Christmas Day that had we been still cooking and gifting, we'd probably been overwhelmed. This way the kids got to play with the gifts, we could eat leftovers, and everyone could sit down and do nothing but relax. We went out in the afternoon so the DIL could take photos. 

On my way back home I stopped by the cemetery and stayed about 20 minutes. It was a beautiful day and the graves were lovely. The office building on the hill began to play Christmas carols at noon. This was a surprise and I just sat and listened to them for a long time. 

Perhaps this seems silly to a lot of people. I don't know if you can understand if you've never lost someone close to you. I know the person is no longer "there" just as they are no longer "here". But I was taught a sense of respect that is virtually non-existent now. My Mama used to say, "You will put me down there (a very rural cemetery) and forget about me." And she was right. We did. I am so far away I can't visit her grave. Yes, I have those memories but there is something about standing beside that grave that brings her closer. I'm never so close to Jerry as when I'm at the graveside. 

I supposed for some it is easy to walk away and forget those who die. Out of sight and out of mind is true. Eventually, you can't even recall the location of their grave. I've been away from Mama's so long I don't know if I can find my way back to that rural location. 

If you think it is foolish, good for you. When it is your turn to leave someone you love more than your life in a six foot hole in the ground among strangers, I hope it is that easy for you. Your time will come before you know it. I hope someone wants to stand beside your resting place and remember you. 

My upbringing was to respect and remember those who have gone and we do that by visiting and taking flowers or just standing beside them for a few moments and remember them. This doesn't take much. I used to go every day. Now, I go when I walk there. I visit on holidays -- his birthday, our anniversary, and on the days we had our children. There are memories we shared, half of which are buried in the ground and forgotten. I spend a few moments giving honor to the man who made those memories possible.  I don't intend to let him lie there forgotten. I do as I would have others do. When it is my turn, there will be no one to do the same for me. It is a dying ethic.

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