Thursday, July 8, 2010

No Anchovies, Please

It is a lovely morning. Cool. Low humidity. We had just turned off the AC and were enjoying a cup of java on the deck while reading the newspaper.
As usual I read the "Bulletin Board" section which publishes vignettes from readers.
I copied the second story for you to read. My comments will follow.

The Permanent Maternal Record
Fevered Rabbit: "It's been three months now since my mom passed away. She was buried next to my dad. Her grave is still unmarked.

"We intend to place a tombstone. We just don't know what to put on it.

"Mom had many health crises in the years before her death. Several times I contacted my kids to tell them that if they wanted to see their grandma one more time, they'd better visit her right away. She'd somehow recover. Her death, when it happened, surprised us; she'd been doing well within the limits of her failing body, giving no indication that the end was imminent.

"After one of the earlier crises, with the possibility of her death still fresh in our minds, I asked her what she wanted on her tombstone. She understood why I wanted to know, and took no offense at the question. She wanted to be reminded of what my father's grave marker read. Though


his death years earlier had caught us all off guard and completely unprepared, there had been no question as to how his marker should read. He had what he called his 'life verses' from the Bible, Proverbs 3:5-6: 'Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.'
"His gravestone wasn't big enough to hold the entire text, so it reads: 'Trust in the Lord with all thine heart.' My father believed this and lived it, and sought to pass this on to his family and to others.

"Mom didn't have a life verse. She loved many passages of Scripture, taking comfort, encouragement, and guidance from the much-read pages of her well-worn Bible. But there was no one verse or section that jumped out to her as being what she wanted on her marker.

"So I reminded Mom of what Dad's stone says, and suggested that she might want to use one of the continuing phrases from the verses started on Dad's stone. There were several options. Hers could read 'Lean not unto thine own understanding,' or 'In all thy ways acknowledge him,' or 'He shall direct thy paths.' Any one of those would fit nicely on a tombstone and, laid next to my father's stone, would augment the verses begun on his, much as she had augmented him in life. [Bulletin Board interjects: We love the idea. An eternal "Joy of Juxtaposition"!]

"Mom asked for some time to think about this idea. We agreed to talk about it the next day.

"As soon as I arrived the following day, Mom said that she'd thought it over and had decided what she wanted to have put on her tombstone. She asked me to tell her again what Daddy's marker said
. I recited: 'Trust in the Lord with all thine heart.'

"With a straight face and with sincerity in her voice, she said: 'I want my tombstone to say "Ditto." '

"We laughed. We both understood that she was joking.

"There is a big part of me that wants to put 'Ditto' on her tombstone, just as she requested. Her family and close friends would understand. I am afraid, however, that the meaning would be lost or confusing to others. So, instead — until we can come up with something better — there is no marker at all."

My comments:
After reading this story, I handed the newspaper to Jon to read. I told him I knew what the writer might put on mom's gravestone. "Amen" would be more dignified than "Ditto". Amen denotes agreement and the end. We say it in church. After a little more thought, I told Jon since space is limited on my columbarium for a lengthy verse, I would also like "amen". Without missing a beat he said, "You always have to have the last word". Love this guy. Hope I go first.

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