Saturday, December 23, 2006

Two Months to the Day . . .

. . . mom was interred with dad. On December 22nd, we left for the national cemetery in Santa Nella CA around 12:30 and through a comedy of errors (though it didn't feel very funny) we ended up behind every semi and speed-abiding vehicle on the road. Between semis on back roads and excruciating traffic on Interstate 5, I didn't think we would ever get there. What should have taken us 45 minutes took us 75 minutes. Mom's scheduled interment was the last of the day and I didn't know how rigid the cemetery was about starting on time. All I knew was that we were finally burying mom and I felt tension beyond imagining.

There was paperwork still to be accomplished and tag, I was it. Fr. Leonard from Our Lady of Miracles in Gustine arrived a bit after us and I started to feel some immense relief. We met at the service area where we were met by an Honor Guard. Mom was a Navy veteran having served in the Waves in 45-46. Father's commitment service, readings and prayers were perfect for mom and offered with respect and solemnity. When his part of the service was completed, the Honor Guard read a dedication to mom honoring her for her commitment to service and dedication to our country. Several riflemen presented arms for a 21 gun salute. Later one of the volunteers gathered up the casings and presented them to us. With the playing of taps, the service was completed.

Normally, the remains are brought to the burial site without family members present. This is how it happened with dad and I think we all look on our absence from his side with a bit of regret. To avoid that feeling with mom, we insisted that we would be present when her earthly remains were rejoined with his. Dave, Marcia, and I stood by and the site was opened and the remains carefully placed with dad. The urn remained wrapped in the soft maroon colored sack and we all like this very much. Mom always like being wrapped in a blanket and somehow the presence of the sack carried through this symbolism and was a comfort to us. I will always think of mom as not in an urn but in a comfortable chair wrapped in her blanket.

Later David's friend, Scott, broke out a flask of dad's favorite Jack Daniels. Off the group march back to the graveside to salute mom and dad and pour the remains on the stone. Long after dad had lost his desire for food and drink, he was willing to take a bit of JD from mom's fingertip. To the end, he loved his JD so the salute was a fitting one for their reunion.

Later we all gathered at Anderson's Pea Soup Restaurant for a meal. That completed the tradition. Long before dad passed away, we would all go out to the cemetery. It is very peaceful out there. A visit, soup and sandwich, and company with each other and the day was complete.

8 comments:

trailbee said...

How wonderful that your mom and dad are finally together again. Thank you for the story. I didn't realize that this would be her final resting place, how fitting. You must feel some closure finally; a rest for your heart. Hugs, Biene

paris parfait said...

Thanks for sharing the story. Hope you and yours have a peaceful Christmas, dear Annie. xo

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

My thoughts are with you Annie. I hope this Christmas you feel the angels that your parents are gathered around you, hugging you heart with love!
Thank you for your loving friendship Annie!

Lisa(oceandreamer) said...

I found this a peaceful post and yet...well I needn't say more. I know they both felt the honor and the love and always will.
THANK YOU dear, dear Annie for being YOU and for your warm and wonderful heart.
XOXO

Star said...

Your telling of this reunion is beautiful, Annie, especially the maroon sack which wraps her urn. I'm glad all the frustration as you traveled to the cemetery was left behind and the service and tribute meaningful.

Susie said...

I'm sure that wasn't an easy day for you. I am very familiar with that Nat'l cemetary as that is where my best friend's Dad rests.
Wishing you a peaceful Christmas Annie..

Kara said...

Thanks for sharing this day. Bless your heart - I wish you much peace this Christmas Day.

Beth said...

How wonderful they are together in such a peaceful place. And your dad had great taste in whiskey. If you ever make it to Tennessee we will have to take you to the Jack Daniels distillery, not too far from us.
Much love during your first Christmas with out your Mom, I know she is with you in spirit!