My mother had a clear spell in her illness in which to discuss her funeral. She chose a service in the chapel of Loughborough’s convent.
Her coffin was woven out of willow. Cars followed it to a country lane and the grassed hill at its end. This was a natural burial ground, newly sectioned off from a working farm. The grave was dug at the edge of a stretch of woodland at the flat base of the hill.
It was a double plot so her husband could join her, though as she predicted he vanished overseas soon after her death.
The graves are marked by the planting of a tree. She chose a silver birch. Such a tree should grow tall and fast though not live long.
Spindly and not much taller than her after twelve years, it’s hanging in there. I find the site from memory and sit.
My first time here the site had become a meadow rich with wildflowers and humming with bees. Many burials and memorial trees later, it’s becoming a woodland.
I sit and remember.