Yesterday I attended a graveside service for an elderly lady from my church. She actually died on December 18th but because the weather had been so bad her son decided to wait on the burial and the memorial service.
The day was sunny but very cold (12 degrees with a little wind). I drove about an hour to get there. There was a very small gathering. Maybe 15. And most people there were 75 and older.
The chairs were set up, the green blanket covered the ground and on top on the mound was a plain brown wrapped box about 6 inches high by 12 inches long and 8 inches wide. Here was Marilyn.
I could not take my eyes from this ugly box. I kept thinking how her 80 years were spent and how hard she worked. How she had nothing in the end and all that was left were her ashes in this box. I wanted to cry.
I know she is with God and no longer has to deal with the results of a stroke, or her Parkinson's disease or her existence in a nursing home. And for that I a grateful.
But it just seemed so depressing and cold.
The service lasted about 15 minutes and the Pastor read the usual Bible passages. Then it was off the the Church for the Memorial.
As I left the cemetery, I felt empty and spent my trip back to town contemplating my own mortality and wondering if I will end up in a plain brown box. Well. at least that I know won't happen because I have already paid for a pink cloisonne urn that I hope will remind people who I was in life.
The Memorial Service was better and there were pictures of Marilyn smiling and healthy - like I would like to remember her.
Death can be an unhappy thing but the celebration of the life that just ended should be joyous. I hope mine will be.
I will miss Marilyn.