Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Spanning the Hallmark holidays

It was our first holiday without Mom, not counting Valentine’s Day. Easter Dinner was the six of us plus my widower uncle. There was enough food leftover to feed my cousin, his ex-mistress-come-wife, and her three kids, none of whom made it to dinner, as the ex-mistress-come-wife’s mother is very ill and has been hospitalized. It went very smoothly, but Mom’s absence was glaring.

After eight weeks of waiting, we set a date for Mom’s burial. It should be a beautiful day, as that time of year most often is, even in the frozen tundra of Up North. Cemeteries in the frozen tundra close several months out of the year. The population is too sparse to justify employing enough people to thaw the ground every time someone dies, and the ground freezes early and thaws late. As Brooke put it, the cemetery doesn’t open for the season until April. It’s run by the township, and they don’t have anyone who can even set dates for burials or answer questions until April.

On May 8, we will bury my mother. If my ties to that small town were ever thin and worn, they aren’t anymore. Our plans for that weekend had originally been up in the air, Brooke planning to spend it with her mom and me planning to spend it with my dad. I had been concerned that my first Mother’s Day without her would be consumed by other people’s mothers, but instead, it will be consumed with my own. The day before Mother’s Day, we will give Mom’s body back to the earth. The dates seem strange and ironic in a hipster kind of way.


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