Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Being respectful can be a bit strange sometimes. After all, respect involves doing what others want or expect but it may not be what you'd like at all. You just put yourself to one side, and you show them honor. It takes courage. That's how I was raised to do.
When my stepfather passed on, I did things the way he would have wanted. There was no viewing or any pomp, only a respectful service at graveside with prayer and his favorite hymns. I put his cremains in the little hole in the ground with my own two hands. It was the last good thing I could do for him. And I was wearing bright red, no hint of black. People didn't understand, and they judged me. Dad always said that he "liked any color as long as it was red." I was there for him, not for anyone else watching. Respect.
When my mother passed on a few short years later, I did things the way she wanted. Again, there was no viewing or any pomp, only a respectful service at graveside with prayer and her favorite hymns. I put her cremains in the little hole in the ground in the same grave as my stepfather with my own two hands. It was the last good thing I could do for her. Again I was wearing bright red, no hint of black--from my purse to my shoes, bright red. People didn't understand, and they judged me. My mother had asked me earnestly not to mourn. I was there for her, not for anyone else watching. Respect.
If you were to ask anyone else right at this moment, they would tell you that I am very wrong not to go to the cemetery this week.
Yesterday was my mother's birthday; All Saints Day.
Today is my stepfather's birthday; All Souls Day.
In fact, I would rather like to go, if only to see that their grave and my grandmother's are neat and tidy; but if I did, that would misbehavior, at least as far as my parents would be concerned. They made me promise not to spend any time at the cemetery, so I don't. They made me promise not to decorate their grave. They insisted that I should not "take dead flowers to the dead" but that I ought to remember them in a living way--to buy myself a live flowering plant to enjoy. Respect.
A plant really isn't in the budget right now.
And I despise going to WalMart.
But I will go.
I will buy a pot of chrysanthemums.
Hopefully they will have red ones.
Life is good.
That's another thing they raised me to believe.