When Heather died I did not want her ashes buried. I could not imagine her being in a forgotten grave that never was visited or had flowers on it. Recently I had a huge change of heart and decided I wanted to “look” at the idea of possibly finding a plot to bury Heather’s ashes. I never even contemplated the idea of ever placing her ashes in the cemetery with a marker. The only cemetery that I considered looking at was Mountain View on Main St. I placed a call to the cemetery and Daniel answered the phone.
April 17th I went to Mountain View Cemetery to meet with Daniel. We drove all around the cemetery looking at different places but none of them really hit me. I asked if there might be any plots close to Ashley-Heather’s 1st grade friend who was killed nearly 17 years ago. (Heather never forgot Ashley. Ashley was riding her bike when she was hit and killed the last day of 1st grade. I took her to her funeral and she talked many times about her. She had even been out to visit Ashley’s grave several times.) He told me he really doubted there would be anything being that it had been so long, but that we should go look.
Just because a spot was empty, did not mean it had not been purchased for future burials. There were several empty plots close to Ashley but we needed to go back to the office to look to make sure they had not been purchased. The two plots that Daniel thought were open had been purchased but he found 2 more open spots that were a little further away. I wanted to go back out and see the plots myself. Looking on a small map was not helpful to me. These plots were too far away for me; in full sun and no trees anywhere. I was not happy and figured I needed to begin my search all over again to find a spot.
I was about to tell Daniel that I needed to look elsewhere in the cemetery when he called me over and told me about a spot that seemed to be open. It was not in the same row as Ashley going North and South, but was in the same row East to West. The huge space between the two girls was a grass access road to move equipment and golf carts on. There would be no one between the two girls. I instantly knew in my heart of hearts that was THE SPOT. My search was finished. We just needed to go up to the office and make sure the spot for sure was available. I placed a hold on the spot for 30 days so I could go home and talk to the family about what I had found. Daniel told me it was amazing to find a spot that close after the amount of time that has passed.
Once the spot was picked, it was time to pick out the vault. This was the steel and ceramic sealed container that holds the container that Heather’s ashes were in. Of course they had a pink one with a rose. Imagine how perfect that was to find. It was a comfort to me to find out that the heart box that Heather’s ashes came home in could be placed in the vault. I was happy I did not have to have her transferred into a different container. No one in the family had any objections or anything to say other than it was meant to be since I found the spot. Tuesday evening I gathered Heather’s ashes and made my peace with letting go of them.
(Confessions of a Grieving Mother Blog)Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Being a mother meant “letting go” of my girls and allowing them to find their wings. The first time for me was letting the babies go to the nursery during church. While this was only for about 2 hours and was always someone I knew, it was difficult to turn over my small babes for someone else to care for. Just a small “letting go” before the bigger ones that come all too quickly.
“Letting go” to kindergarten came way too fast. It was suddenly half a day then a whole day that one, then two and then all three of my girls made their way to school. I became super mom helper to more than just the girl’s teachers at school. I needed something to fill my time. This also meant I had access to the girls during the day. I think for the most part they enjoyed knowing that mom was close by. Just a small “letting go” before the bigger ones that come all too quickly.
“Letting go” to learn to drive was very scary for any parent. It was not so much your child as the driver but the other 50 million other drivers. I never saw the need to have them drive at 16 years old. It was tough for them to ask for rides home being 18 years old but they lived through it. But the use of cell phones and them letting me know they arrived safely and were leaving now made it easier. Another small “letting go” before the bigger ones that come all too quickly.
“Letting go” as the girls got jobs, went to college and began doing their own things. It was a fine line of being a mom; I learned to step back to allow them to fight and figure out their own plans. As the girls got more self-sufficient my job became less and less. It was a mother’s prayer that her kids have roots and wings, it was very difficult to take your hands off and let them fly sometimes. A bit bigger “letting go” before the biggest ones came my way.
“Letting go” when your “adult” daughter had cancer was not something that I recommend. For me there was NO letting go. I was not about to leave her alone or not be there every single step of the way. This part of letting go was allowing her to go get an MRI without me in the room. For every single procedure I was allowed to go with her but not the MRI. This was absolute torture as I paced up and down the hallway and slid down the wall to sit on the floor over and over again. There were not many times the Heather’s GUARD DOG mother was not right there watching and questioning every single move people made. A big “letting go” before really tough ones came my way.
“Letting go” was allowing Heather to drive and do her things after guarding her every moment for 6 months. I was so worried about germs, illnesses, pills and was she feeling okay for so long. When she began going out on her own it was very difficult for me. It was almost like allowing a 2 month old baby drive a car. BUT…letting go was not to last very long and I would have to be my roughest toughest guard dog ever. This was a stretch in my being as most medical things that were lifesaving did not need my approval or denial. Not that I would have denied care, just I was not needed. The staff did respect me enough to allow me to think I was making decisions for Heather. “Letting go” when it was never really my choice to let go.
“Letting go” was a choice that was not mine but made by God Himself and I was not asked my opinion. I would not have chosen to let go of Heather this way. It was letting go to wonder every day what she was doing. Yes I believed she was in Heaven and doing her thing whatever that was. “Letting go” of Heather to die was not in my plan nor did I or do I enjoy this letting go.
“Letting go” was taking her things to the funeral home knowing that she would never come back to me the way she was before. I brought her ashes home and had kept them here with me for nearly three years. Letting go was scattering her ashes for the first time. That was very difficult to let go of the very first portion of her ashes. The final letting go was to allow all the rest of her ashes to be buried. This was not something that I ever wanted or planned to do. Funny how time and God could change your thinking. …
“Letting go” for the final time as I handed over the heart container, that had held Heather’s ashes since the day she was placed in it, to Daniel at Mountain View Cemetery. There would be a private family burial of the ashes on Monday, April 23rd, 2012. She would be allowed to stay in the same heart container that she has always been in and that made me feel good. Letting go of her, of Heather, well it was her earthly body; the body I lived with for 21 years and love very much. It was her image that was in all the photos I had of her. The being, essence or soul that made Heather who she was not here. Letting go was part of life, letting go was part of death, letting go was not easy and it took time. While this was the biggest letting go I had peace that I let go at the right time and the right place.
Friday, April 20, 2012–It has been 3 years, or 36 months, try 156 weeks, how about 1,095 days, maybe 26,280 hours, or 1,576,800 minutes and finally 94,608,000 seconds since Heather died. Three years is a long time not to see your child, or talk to her, not know what she is doing just simply being without her. No she is not away at college nor did she move across the country, if she had done those things I could talk to her on the phone, text her or get on a plane and go see her. None of that is possible for me to do.
This week was a very emotional week for me as I made huge decisions and had an enormous change of heart concerning cemeteries and letting go of her ashes. The heart box that sat on her grand piano for nearly 3 years I lovingly said my goodbyes and placed them into the hands of Daniel at the cemetery. Monday will be our family time to say our final goodbyes and bury her ashes.
Tonight we met up with the rest of our family for dinner, came back home and released 12 hot pink balloons. This was to mark the 12 months that Heather has been gone. Once it was dark we put 12 luminaries in pink bags around the Sally Angel in the front yard. Funny how releasing balloons and putting out luminaries can be so healing. For one day, anyone who walks or drives by the house will wonder what that means, knowing in their hearts that someone very loved died. I do it because I need people to remember Heather, she was born, she lived and then she died with no fanfare.