Last Friday we buried my grandmother on a little hilltop in a country cemetery.
Wildflowers grew aside the winding road that led to The Gates of Heaven. It’s small with one circular drive that leads both in and out.
We passed by the names that echoed from the stories of my childhood, the stories told over and over at the kitchen table. I cried.
Then we came to my grandmother’s spot, next to my grandfather who died in 1973. A small hole had been dug, waiting for her remains. Seven of us were in attendance, not counting the priest, who never knew my grandmother, but nonetheless.
Ninety-two years and you get seven people to show up.
Windchimes were hung in a tree down the hill from my grandparent’s patch of earth. Depending upon the way the wind blew, we could hear them tinkling.
I walked around the cemetery, impressed that such a small family place in an unwealthy community housed such elaborate stones. Etchings of family homes and photos of loved ones adorned the plots.
I wept during the five minute ceremony. Not just a few tears. Heart-wrenching weeping. I wept four months worth of sorrow that has been swallowing me up since she died, and I’ve been too angry to cry about until now.
At first I tried to stifle my sobs, worried about what my aunt and uncle would think, four months after her death.
Then I just didn’t care what anyone thought at all, I wasn’t there for anyone else except myself.
After a few words and prayers the priest put the cremains in the ground and someone handed Kenny a shovel and he tamped her down into the earth.
While my aunt and uncle tried to discourage us from making a three hour drive for a five minute ceremony, it was the most important trip I’ve had to make in a very long time.
We drove away, leaving my grandmother back where she belongs, where she came from. Home.