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My Mother's Last Trip


malign

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Well, one of my late mother's requests was that she be cremated, and her ashes spread in a state park in the mountains that she was fond of visiting. Perhaps understandably, it has taken my dad a while to come to grips with the idea. But, on Sunday, we're all going to drive up there, and return her to Nature.

I'm not sure how I'm going to handle it.

I haven't really handled it before, you see. Although I got to see her the morning of the day she died, I wasn't there at the time, and I wasn't able to go to the funeral. So, although I've come to grips with the loss intellectually, I haven't really grieved ...

I guess I'll just have to see.

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Grieving is a process, Mark. I think it's okay to let yourself feel the emotions of this loss. But I don't think that means you aren't handling it...I think it means that you're allowing yourself to move along the path even when the path is bumpy. I'm sure your mother knew you loved her and that she would be proud of the person you have come to be. Take gentle care, my friend.

Love,

Beth

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Thank you all for your kind words. :-)

The thing is, I'm sort of in transition from knowing "it's okay" to feel the emotions, to actually being willing. In other words, I'm scared.

I'm sure she knew I loved her, too, and I'm sure I loved her ... I guess part of it is that, at the time of her death and even afterward, I'm not sure that I'm very proud of my behavior, towards my parents. It's true that I'm doing better, in part because of what I've learned from the site ...

But I missed an opportunity, back then. It's not that I'm beating myself up hugely for it; it's just some extra sadness to add into the natural one.

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Mark I first want to say that I am sorry for the loss of your mom. I hope that this weekend you will be able to feel peace and gentleness even in the midst of your sadness. Secondly, you know that you can not change the past. But you are so kind and caring and loving: the person you are now is a credit to your hard work but is also the best way of showing honor and respect to your parents. I don't know if that makes sense but... you are a kind and loving man, take some of that kindness and lovingness and give it to yourself this weekend.

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Thank you for your concern, y'all. :-)

It went pretty well, as such things go. My older half-brother elected not to come, and my younger brother left his kids at home with his wife, so it was just him and me and my Dad. The bulk of the time was spent scouting out places so that my Dad could watch without having to climb the hillside. He's creaky enough in the knees and short enough of breath that he didn't feel able to hike up there.

But once we had decided on the spot, my brother the E.R. nurse was ruthlessly efficient. The only words spoken towards my mother were along the lines of "well, Mom, this is what you wanted". We spread the ashes; I took some photos to allow us to locate the site again; I took some shots of the view from there, so we can all see what she sees whenever we want, and we were done. From meeting my brother to trying decide where to have lunch, including scouting around and walking my Dad slowly into place, took one hour.

We had a pleasant family lunch in a little sandwich place that my parents had visited once, and then we split up and headed home.

To some extent, we did what was most important: we accomplished her last wish at a time when my Dad was still able to travel with us to see it happen.

On the personal side, though, it didn't give me much of an opportunity to grieve. So, I guess that part's still up to me. It's quite possible I will visit the site, alone, sometime soon.

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