Friday afternoon we headed north to Walkerton. Walkerton is located in the southwestern corner of St. Joseph County in northern Indiana. It's where Sharon and I both graduated from high school.
We went that way to join about 80 others in a surprise birthday party for Sharon's younger sister, Linda. The air got chilly as people partied out in a large garage on a farm between Plymouth and Walkerton. Kids played games. A fire was burning in a fire pit out near the fields. A slice of the moon appeared despite occasional clouds. It was good.
This morning I spent some time chatting with my in-laws, and then I made a solo trip to South Bend to visit my Mom's grave. Her body is buried across from the University Park Mall on the north side of South Bend. Knowing how much our Mom enjoyed "retail therapy" we all thought the setting was just right.
I stopped at a nearby store and bought one,red rose to place on her grave.
In the past I have had to search to find her grave but this time I walked right to it. I placed the red rose across the grave marker that lies flat against the grass. A marker that says "United Methodist Missionary" was half-covered so I spent some time cleaning it all off.
What do you do when you stand at the grave of someone you love? You try to pull up some memories, some mental pictures, but you discover that is too much. You can't do a life justice in a few minutes like that. I looked up at nearby trees full of spring life, and I realized how death cannot quiet the music released by a life well lived. My Mom had her share of the craziness that marks every human life, but when God gave her to the world it was a good day...a special gift. She brought joy and music and faith and passion to us. She could be distracted. Overly involved in the church. She drank diet pop and loved Twinkies. She was a gift. Death cannot silence the blessings she gave away.
I stood there looking up at the traffic passing by. I studied a nearby tree. Then, I turned away. With a heart more full of gratitude than loss.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom.