On my mother’s grave

May 7, 2016
Mother's Grave

By my mother’s grave – Kathleen Mary O’Neill, 1932-2002

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.

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