January 24th, next Friday, will be the 17th anniversary of my mother's death.
I don't formally recognize it every year. It almost always it takes me by surprise if I don't, as if my body knows (and it does) exactly when it the anniversary is, even if my mind has forgotten.
This week, the week of the anniversary, I will go to where our family is buried - mother included - at our family cabin in southern Wisconsin. The brother who owns it has decided to sell it, which is fair. I can't imagine having a second property to keep up, and this one is laden with all kinds of heavy family history, as well as some good memories. It's time to let go.
I will be there to support my brother in his first meeting with the realtor, help him dig out the front walk enough so we can all walk inside. Then, after that appointment, we will drive to a nearby cemetery to see if we can re-inter our family there.
A few years ago, when the one brother began to discuss selling the cabin, the other brother and I all began to discuss what to do with the graves, leaning in on a sister-in-law who is in the field. Not having found a solution, and feeling overwhelmed by such a weird decision - how to dig whatever is left of their ashes and concrete boxes up, move them and re-bury them, and where? - we stopped discussing it. Now that a realtor is coming in, it's time to discuss it again. The brother who owns the cabin has chosen a place to go and look at this next week.
I hope to find a peaceful place where we can bury them all together: my mother and father, my mother's parents and my father's mother, the great aunt who is my namesake and great uncle none of us ever met. A quiet, countryside cemetery with a good view. Not too expensive. Not too far from the cabin, to honor whomever chose to bury them there.