Yesterday, we celebrated Mother’s Day the same way that we’ve celebrated it every year since my mother’s death; we went to the cemetery.
I don’t like going to the cemetery, but my father does. He talks to my mother’s grave as if she’s really there, listening to him. I can’t do that. Even though I know that my mother’s body is buried there, I just don’t like the idea of talking to a bunch of bones in a box in the ground.
I mean, even if I thought that my mother could hear me talking to her (which I am not so sure I do), I certainly don’t think that her soul is stuck inside her coffin, with her body, in the cemetery. Cemeteries are too dark and depressing to house people’s souls.
Except maybe for Pere Lachaise.
Pere Lachaise is a cemetery in Paris. I have never been there, but I saw video of it on a television program recently, and it was beautiful. There were hundreds (maybe thousands) of headstones, most of which were very old, and very ornate.
Unlike my mother’s cemetery, at Pere Lachaise every headstone is unique; no two markers are alike. And, they’re nestled among the most elegant gardens. Gardens full of colorful flowers, and well-maintained grassy hills, and beautiful, comfortable-looking benches (for basking in the warm afternoon sun).
It was the first time, since my mother’s death, that I have seen a cemetery that didn’t automatically make me sad.
I hope that I can go there someday. I would like to visit a cemetery that is pretty and peaceful, and full of anonymous bodies for a change (although the voice-over did mention that a lot of famous and historically significant people are buried there).
When we drove out to the cemetery yesterday morning it was raining, of course (ever since my mother died, it always seems to rain on Mother’s Day). But, we still got out of the car and walked over to the grave (like we always do). We had the same wilted flowers that my father always buys from the same flower cart along the side of the road just outside the cemetery’s gates. And, my father gave his same, “Don’t worry, we’re all doing OK,” speech. Then, I picked up one of the flowers and I walked down to the end of the row, to where Charlotte is buried.
I was really freaked out when my father told me that Elise’s mother’s grave is so near to my own mother’s burial place (he had wanted to prepare me before we got to the cemetery). But, standing there yesterday, I actually found myself comforted by their close proximity to one another.
There weren’t any flowers on Charlotte’s grave. At least, not yet. And, as I placed my lone flower on the ground, I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not Elise (and her father and brother) would be making a similar Mother’s Day excursion.
“I hope not,” I thought to myself as we walked back to the car. “I hope not.”