Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: missing home

Final Resting Place

**This piece has been resting in my drafts for over 7 months and I’m just now able to share it. I promise I don’t think about death all the time. 

After my grandfather died, our family tended to the traditional details surrounding death, one of them being a resting place. A grave. The four brothers, along with 3 wives and a significant other, ventured to Hale cemetery .

Aunt Judy, whose first husband had died many years ago, already had a place. Uncle Charlie found his site near hers, and it was decided the whole gaggle of Wingfields would buy their final real estate in that area. Each person wondered about, some showing preference to high ground or resistance to becoming a future walkway. Each couple found a future home, some “across the street” from the other, with Grandma and Grandpa’s presence as the center of them all – if not physically, than in spirit.

It seems like a mundane, even morbid, task to consider where you want your bones to dissolve. Yet intrinsic in our souls, we consider it.

The patriarch Joseph lived in full awareness of it. Raised in his father’s land but sold into slavery as a young man, he spent most of his years in Egypt as a foreigner, robbed of the connection to his people. He lived by foreign customs, likely even took an Egyptian name as he served the house of the Pharaoh.

Joseph’s wish, one he made his brothers and their children swear to, was to join the family tomb. After he died, he remained embalmed in a coffin until Moses led the nation out of  slavery and someone remembered the oath and thought to take Joseph’s bones along for the ride. Eventually he came to rest in a tomb in the land of his father.

Why take such interest in where dead bones lie? Why would the Bible even mention this in the story of the Exodus?

One writer mentions the burial as a final act of maintaining contact with the community, even after death. Our final presence with our loved ones gives some sort of guarantee that we won’t be forgotten, that we will be included and remembered as the local history builds in years.

To be honest, I’ve given thought to this question. While living at a distance from my roots, I’ve wondered where my body would return to the earth. On the one hand, it makes sense to remain close to the community in which you live – where you raise your children, build your friendships, and share your life’s work. Yet something pulls me homeward. How could we consider anything other than finding a spot near JJ’s sister, who already rests? Why would we not be a short drive from other family markers of lives remembered?

Something in my spirit says that in choosing a site in our current county we would be removed from the larger family narrative that comes with joining together in burial.

Which begs the question: If I want to be buried there, why would I not live there? I want to be included in our family’s place on this earth. Shouldn’t I be a part of the living and not just the dying? The life, not only the death?

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)

 

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wednesday is the new monday

back in the day i had mondays off, which was a nice way to ease into the week – a chance to make sure the house was in check, relax a little bit, get done what i didn’t finish on the weekend. today, because of poor planning and communication on jj and I’s part, i was at home all day (because at 9:30 last night we realized we didn’t have a sitter), so it kinda felt monday-ish, but here it was wednesday! also because i was out of town monday and tuesday and when you’re removed from your element it seems as if days disappear or really just don’t happen at all while you’re away. so i had to continually tell myself it was not monday, it was wednesday.

and i didn’t really do too much catching up. finished an ad script for an upcoming commercial, which had been brewing in my head for almost 2 weeks but i finally got it down in script form. made a pumpkin cheesecake, which turned out well in terms of flavor and got a “c” in the looks catagory. not just a crack, but a large divit… maybe next time i will try the waterbath. but excellent flavor.

had a good day with the kiddo, too. it’s interesting – obviously i missed him while i was away, but i was kept so busy that i didn’t have a chance to think through what he was doing at home without me. so when i was driving home from the airport is when i missed him the most – i just couldn’t wait to see him. of course, he was in bed when i got home. but we got to hang out and catch up today. he’s now making kissy smack noises with his lips. adorable. we’re going to have to work on blowing kisses.

back in the day when i had to leave for events a lot, coming home was much more difficult. jj and i would fight like crazy upon my return, which is a bit backward. you’re supposed to miss each other and just be glad to be home, right? but not so with us. i think part of it was that i was away and i didn’t miss “normal” life – i missed jj and seeing him, but when it came time for dinner, the empty chair wasn’t glaring at me in the face. so it was pretty easy on my end, but not the one that had to stay home. fortunately there wasn’t any arguing after i arrived home this time, so maybe we’ve grown out of it. we’re more mature now. or jj just has enough of his own stress that he didn’t notice i was gone.

speaking of, we’re on a countdown until he’s done with this semester. thank goodness. i need some consistency in my life. and him to be home at a reasonable hour. i’ll be so glad when the semester is over. as will he (probably even more so). until then we trudge forward. and nothing makes a trudge bearable like pumpkin cheesecake.

g’night, all.

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