Sunday, February 15, 2009


Rituals are part of life. When your child dies, they become even more important. For myself, I have a few rituals I follow to honor and remember my daughter. Today will be one of them.

Each time I leave town for more than just a weekend, as I will very soon, I go to the cemetery to see Marcy and clean off her grave. It makes me feel good. No one else cleans it like I do, and I always want it to shine and look good in case others come by to visit and pay their respects. I bring a scrapper to scrap off the accumulated dirt and calcium that forms from rain and watering the area. I bring a brush to get into the embedded words on the stone. And I bring a cloth to wash and wipe it clean. Then I place new white silk flowers in the soft ground around the stone, the same type of flowers that her wedding bouquet was made of. It stays like that for about 3 months maximum, depending on weather conditions. I’ve noticed other stones in the cemetery look worn, old, and covered with mud. Obviously, many of these stones are not cared for by relatives or even friends. I am so tempted sometimes to go around and just wipe them, so that next to Marcy’s they will look good, but the thought eventually passes. I have asked my husband, then Marcy’s best friend (in that order) to take care of the stone after I am gone. It is important to me. Other occasions I definitely go to the cemetery are on her birthday and death date.

Her birthday is a simple affair. In addition to going to the cemetery, we go out for dinner to a nice restaurant, toast her life and wish she was here with us. I know some of her friends have done the same thing.

On Marcy’s death date I light a 24 hour candle and say a prayer, then go to the cemetery. Later in the day I take out the few boxes and look at what I have left of her life: the awards, the writings, the photos and the wonderful stories friends wrote about her and gave to me. I like reminiscing and thinking of all the joy she brought to me and others in her 27 years.

On her wedding anniversary my ritual is to take out the video of her wedding and watch it. Of course, she will never grow old or look old, but I do often wonder how she would look now as I watch it. I love seeing her personality and sense of humor shine though as she speaks on the video. Watching it always leaves me sad, and for days I think of nothing else. But it is something I must do to keep her close. A close friend of hers also gave me a composite video of the last few years of her life that I watch. It is beautiful. Those two videos are the only videos I have of her.

My rituals are simple, yet they satisfy me as best they can. Each of you can do whatever helps you remember, with love, your special child

1 comment:

  1. When ever I pull up your site it seems that you are always where I am. I am going 'home' in a few days and I will go to my brother's grave and clean his stone while I am there. I always bring him a cup of coffee, I know it must not stay long but he loved coffee...
    I have written here before about the grief my son and I are in over the loss of his girlfriend in an auto accident last July, we miss her so. Last night I was looking through photos on our computer when I came across three short videos of her on her last birthday. It was Easter last spring, her mother was in Iraq and her father who is a bit of a recluse would not come to our house to celebrate Ramy's birthday with us. We tried to make this day as perfect as we could for Ramy but you can see the sadness in her face in these videos, they break your heart to watch. I am thinking of a way to give a copy to her parents without hurting them too badly. I know that someday, like you they will need and want to watch these also because I am sure that these are the last ones taken of her. I will find a way I suppose however painful it will be. Thank you so very much again.