Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom

Yesterday was Mom's birthday and Kate had the thoughtful idea that we should take flowers to her grave in tribute.  We took carnations, because they're her favorite, and I had the florist make them blue,  because that's her favorite color.  The whole affair was messed up due to other factors, but, still, it was a nice idea and I'm glad we did it.

I was surprised that the florist simply took a can of blue spray paint and literally spray painted the white carnations blue.  I had no idea that was how it was done.  Luckily, the paint smell wore off and the carnation smell reasserted itself before we got there.  Sort of artificial ... but I wanted blue.  Mom was the queen of spray painting things gold -- so I guess it's fitting.  On Sundays sometimes we would take a drive and she would stop by the roadside and gather dried pods and thistles that she would take home and paint gold and put into wonderful dried arrangements.  We called it her "gold period," like Picasso's "blue period."

I'm not really one for visiting cemeteries.  It's my belief that the person doesn't linger around a graveyard but goes on to a different type of being.  If the people we love are still in communication with us, they are probably more in touch with us in our everyday lives -- where they were a part -- than in a place as foreign as a cemetery.  And it bothers me a little to remember that the body we touched and loved -- empty as it is --  is under the ground succumbing to natural and necessary processes.  

So, I'm not a big cemetery visitor.  There's nothing there to draw me.

I have, however, developed a theory about the communion of saints.  Mom always said that she thought dead people were unaware of the living.  Her reasoning was that heaven should be perfect bliss and that the people in heaven couldn't be happy if they knew their loved ones left behind were suffering or in pain.

I, on the other hand, believe that it's possible to be at peace and still be aware of the suffering of others.  The book "The Lovely Bones" makes sense to me and it seems reasonable that those who die maintain an connection to the living through love as long as their loved ones remain behind.  As time goes on, that connection would naturally become more tenuous as the next generation ages and dies and eventually all the people you knew and loved would be with you and you would no longer need or want a connection to the living.

Of course, this is all just theory, but it makes sense to me.  I guess someday we'll all know.