Burial Day

Today was painful, but amazing.

I did not sleep well, woke tired and coughing my pneumonia lungs out, and in the shower felt smashed flat like the morning after mom’s accident when we were all in shock and trying to get ready for church, because church is what we do, because it’s who we are.

We stopped on the way to the cemetery to pick fresh wild flowers for mom’s grave.

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This was all very idyllic and sweet, except for the swarms of ants that came out of the flowers!

There were also yellow wildflowers all over the cemetery, and the kids picked all the ones they could find.

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And Jessica had her very first loose tooth, as if the day marked her transition from babyhood into childhood as much as the letting go of her Grandma.

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Mom’s best friend Jo came all the way from Rogers:

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We were emotional enough, sick enough, and trying to get to court for our little one on time when we left town Friday that we forgot Nathan’s violin! Carolyn found one for him to use, and we were grateful.

Nathan opened with his medley arrangement of “For the beauty of the Earth” and “All Creatures of our God and King”. Mom loved that one. Then we had a prayer, and Kirk shared some words, then I spoke. Nathan played “How Great Thou Art”, a song my parents used to sing together, while Kirk placed Mom’s ashes in the grave our Aaronic Priesthood boys had dug, and then Kirk and I tucked her in one last time and covered it all up with our hands in the dirt while Nathan played.

We cried, and placed all the flowers on the grave, and cried some more.

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Mom’s sister and her family were there, and “The Cousins”, which is a title to the group and always emphatically capitalized, for the whole lot of them grew up together causing trouble on summers and holidays.

Mom’s grandchildren loved looking at all the pictures:

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And we had sandwiches and chips while telling stories, catching up on family news, and going over family history:

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The kids all played out on the farm, as cousins always have, while the grownups talked and shared stories.

My brother and I were excited to get all the old photographs we had from mom identified by person, relationship, and family story while we were there. Everyone was so patient while we put the pieces together! We learned so much, untangled a few we were confused about, and filled in a ton of missing pieces. Some of these pictures and stories can be seen on our genealogy blog.

My favorite story, though, was about my mother’s maternal grandfather who had a copy of the Book of Mormon (none of that family was LDS), and made the kids read it after he got it because it was “good and important”, and he wanted them to think about it and decide for themselves.

And, it turned out that one of them had even worked with a Mormon, so knew a lot and had a ton of questions, and we got to chat for several hours. My brother and his wife live nearby, so will bring a new copy of the Book of Mormon for her to read and introduce her to the missionaries for more chatting. She knew about my Hebrew studies, and we had a great discussion while we were there!

I loved feeling connected to my family, and we had some very special experiences of mom and others, on this thinly veiled day.

It was good. Special. Sacred.

When we finished, we drove through the cemetery one more time so I could say goodbye on my own.

I am glad the burial is done.

It is as it should be.

It feels like a cold and quiet and lonely world without her.

I cry.

But I am also loved well by Nathan, which is as it should be, and I love the little life we are starting together – which is also as it should be.

It is true, that blessing from when we were sealed in the temple, that I am happy even when I am sad.

And there is peace, with five months to go until we can go to the temple for her, five months until Kirk and I can be sealed to our parents.

And restore things, as they should be.

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About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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