Yesterday, I had another trip up to Worcestershire, to visit the churchyard where my mother’s side of the family mainly reside these days.
When my Nan was alive, we would be up there every few weeks, putting flowers on the graves of various relatives. I don’t remember minding that at all. It was also a way to pass on family history – my Mum and my Nan would tell me about the people who’d died before I was born or when I was too young to remember them.
When Nan died, my Mum carried on ‘doing the graves’ as she always called it. If I was around, I’d go with her, but mainly she did it on her own.
When Mum was making her Will, she was adamant that she wanted to be cremated when she died, so that my brother and I wouldn’t have the hassle of ‘doing the graves’. I don’t think this was her only reason, but I’m sure it was part of it.
But the strange thing is this. Ever since my Mum died, I have made a point of doing the hundred and sixty mile round trip, to ‘do the graves’ on certain dates that were important to our family.
Mum and Dad don’t have a grave, but I find that when I visit the churchyard, I can easily feel them there with me. It was the church were they married, so a happy place for them too.
Yesterday morning while I was there, the weather was lovely, warm and sunny. It was a relaxing and somehow a cathartic thing to do.
I’m never seen anyone else doing the same thing while I’ve been there, so I don’t feel too embarrassed when I take the opportunity to talk to the family. I had to apologise to my Nan’s mother – I just couldn’t get her flowers to look right, but I don’t think she minded.
I took my sandwiches up to the bench on the hill that overlooks the churchyard and had a chat with Mum and Dad.
It’s good to take some time out to think about the people we loved and still love, to remember them and to be happy, even as the tears roll down our cheeks.