Today we put Mom’s ashes into the ground. She’s there now, resting near family members she variously loved or endured, mostly in-laws; Isaac, Jacob, two Maria’s, Uncle Harry and all those poor kids who died on a cold winter’s day early in 1970. Heidi died too that day but her marker, if that’s what it is, is just an empty space in the line of seven stones. Her body was never found. “Slipped out of her life jacket,” is the conventional wisdom, but of course no one really knows.
We chuckled as we realized that in death Mom would have the same next door neighbours as she had in life. “No, not planned,” said the cemetery attendant standing nearby. Then we got serious again, said a prayer, sang a hymn, stood around uncomfortably in the summer heat until we shuffled off in different directions to see who else we might know beneath the grass.
Later, the sun setting, we gathered at the beach around a fire, cooking wieners, making smores, throwing rocks at the dark water. The same water that took Uncle Harry and his boat and all those kids. Yes, right there – we point at the lighthouse on Cape Mudge across the water – there the one group of bodies was found; the others further down the island, over there.
Tonight I’m in the made up bed in the spare room. Out the window the moon is full and bright, pulling a long golden train across the water. And below, the lighthouse on Cape Mudge beams its single light, every five seconds, keeping a silent vigil over our passing lives.
(*This is one of a number of my Facebook Notes which I will be folding into this blog so my writing is in one place. I wrote this in the summer of 2014.)