The evening was beautiful. We ate dinner outside and on the water front as the sun was setting.
Our ride home was full of interesting conversation. As my in-laws friends age and pass away normal taboo topics rise into our discussion. My FIL will be 85 in October. Both my in-laws are in good health. My MIL is very aware of having her final wishes in her life being honored. The conversations we had last night are normal ones WE'VE had before. The WE'VE is my husband, myself and his mom and dad. My children are usually within earshot, but never seem to add their comments and last night had their iPods on their heads. When the time comes, and being one who certainly understands that the time will come, I too realize that the honor of carrying out my MIL and FIL's wishes will heavily fall onto my husband and myself. My husband's brothers will not be excluded, it's just that living next door and riding to and from places and having the opportunities to have these conversations happens to us more than to them (the brothers).
Last night we chatted about gravestones.
I don't find it offensive or surprising to have these conversations. Instead I find it fascinating and enlightening. My MIL would like to have a big ornate, obelisk type stone at the head of her grave. My FIL would like to be cremated. Cremation brings another thought, conversation and potential posting...what to do with those ashes.
I only faintly recall, from my childhood, my own mother and grandmother heading to the cemeteries on the weekend on Memorial Day to lay flowers and check on the deceased members of the "family." I more vividly recall those two ladies going to the cemeteries after both my father and grandfather died. These memories are of a sad event, full of self-pity and tears.
Living about four hours away from my parents and grandparents grave site does not give me the opportunity to stop in as often as I should, as my Grams and Mom would have done. On the times I have been, I find that tears can't help but seep from my eyes. I never get that 'I'll feel good that I went later' feeling that one may get either.
Grave sites. Places to memorialize lives lost. But not the only places to memorialize lives lost.
I do not limit my memories of my parents to just the cemetery. I don't want my children to limit there memories of me, when that time comes.