I was surprised when she asked to be interned in the small town in Southern Minnesota where her father was born. I guess I thought she’d go for something romantic. Ashes scattered across the Bay of Banderas or something like that. Once again, I was confusing her wishes with my own.
She chose well. In that small town cemetery, they punched out space deep in the dark, rich earth to hold her ashes. The same earth that her family has farmed for generations. She is buried there, right next to her father.
And now the permanent marker is in place. I’m not which relative selected this headstone, but it is perfect. The hearts, the flowers, the photo… as sweet as the life it represents.
“Permanent marker” may be a misnomer. It is no more permanent than anything else. But stone gives the feeling of permanence, doesn’t it? I can imagine the sensation of my fingers tracing her name, the cool hardness of the headstone. Her body gone, but her name carved in granite. The image of her beautiful smile preserved. Never to be diminished with the passage of time, or so it seems.
I like having a monument to her life, even if it’s over a thousand miles a way, and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to see it in person. Even if it’s a bit of an illusion of permanence. And of course she is bigger than a headstone, she still touches everything in my life. But I also love the carved stone, the smiling face, the marker that says “this wonderful woman lived, and then she died.”