I always feel I should write more on my blog, but it kills fifteen minutes or more that I could be doing something else, like building a bird house or transplanting a Large Yellow Ladyslipper before an earth-mover smashes it, which was my mission this morning before we went out to the cemetery.
I've outlived a lot of people. Young people are too alive to worry about cemeteries. They don't have as many friends names etched in the granite as they walk slowly through through the grass down the alleys of markers. Remembering. So as the oldest, still upright and above ground, I am delegated to flower eight graves.
It's a old cemetery by local standards, filled with long dead Danes - Nelsons, Hansons, Petersons, Jacobsons and a scattering of Bergs. As I was putting flowers on the grave of Lorna's parents, Bob and Florence Hanson, I remembered that when Florence died, instead of money in an envelope, my Dad paid for the stone. I don't know how Bob felt about that, but it meant the world to my much younger brother, Kirby and my sister, Lona.
After planting two flowers for them I moved to the grave beside them, their granddaughter, Kristina Marie Hanson - Born June 30, 1981, Died June 9, 2006. 25. For three years there were a handful of Indian wrist bangles that Addy left on top of the stone for her. Last year they were gone. I really should get more bangles for her.
I took my tools and plants across the road to my grandparent's grave, Rev Neil Berg & Nellie Berg. Both lived long, full lives into their 90s and I loved them both dearly. As much as I've ever loved anyone.
Then I diagonalled across to the northwest corner, along the way noting the names of the great-great-grandparents of my childhood friends. Last year I must have become distracted, because intending to put flowers on Lorna's grandparent's grave, I put the flowers on someone else's site. So this year I carefully noted, Harry D. & Adena Nelson. Adena, my daughter's namesake, and also the namesake of cousin Judi's cat. I did not know Harry D., but I have not heard many good things about him. On the other hand, Adena was nameworthy.
As I walked east to another Berg section I passed my other grandparents, Martin & Ella Cassel. Their site had already been tended, so I moved on to my kid brother Kirby. Kirby Miles Berg, (Father of Jamie Berg) Born Sep. 21, 1961 - Died Dec. 16, 1990. 29 years. He died in a house fire, the hardest day of my life.
Then the next stone up the road to my parents. The names are wrong. It says Marlin Berg & Nadine Berg. It should say Bud Berg & Chicken Berg, then people would know who was really under that big polished black stone. I noticed on my parent's marker, in small letters below their names, it reads, "Together in the Garden". It struck me then that gardening was the one of the few things they had in common at the end, other than their children, and they did their best to divide us up between them too. I gave them two plants anyway.
Because the Cassels had been covered, I had one plant extra and realized I had forgotten my uncle, Jay Berg, pronounced "Jayberg", never Jay. So it was back across the cemetery one more time. My Grandma Nellie was still alive when he died. It was hard on her, burying her baby, the last of her three sons. She outlived them all. When Jayberg died it was a short service - a song, a prayer and cousin Dan and I placed the urn of ashes in the grave. Then I wheel Grandma in her wheelchair to another section of the cemetery to distract her. She didn't like the cremation anyway and I we knew she would be just mortified to see Thane Nordlin, one of Jayberg's favorite neighbor kids, putting another can in the hole. By Jayberg's wishes it contained the ashes of his old dog, Benji. I'd have given Benj a plant too, but I only had one left so it went to Jayberg.
They will have to share.
They will have to share.