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Oh, cripe, Memorial Day is coming again! It will be my third since Don died and I'm still not sure how I want to design my personal traditions for marking this sadiversary/holiday. I’d feel guilty if I didn’t do something to acknowledge the M word day. Before Don’s stroke we had a long standing tradition of going to eight or nine grave sites in cemeteries spread out over several counties. He cared about decorating his ancestors’ graves. He decorated graves with his parents long before I came into the picture and after they died, we took over the “route” and I was decorating graves of people I never met. We only did it once after his stroke when I finally put my foot down and in a nice way I told him it was too much to ask of me to push a wheelchair around rural cemeteries with their uneven ground and with the other obstacles life had thrown at us. He understood. At least that’s what I tell myself. It’s not like he had a choice. Whoever controls the car keys controls the schedule and right-side paralyzed people, like he was, usually lose that battle.

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My first Memorial Day without my husband was all about the condition of his newly placed tombstone and the unseeded ground around it. I cared about the unkempt condition of the stone because it would have bothered him. But I didn’t feel like it was his finally resting place---still don’t. I like to believe that his spirit resides where we threw part of his ashes to the winds near a ghost town along Lake Michigan. He loved the mystique of that place. Or his spirit could by roaming his old family farm where I also left some of his ashes. That first summer that followed my first M word day I Johnny Appleseeded ashes in so many places, I finally had to make myself stop. Still, that first Memorial Day I brought my tools, seed, elbow grease and water to the cemetery. Then I leveled the ground, seeded the soil and cleaned the dirt out of the engraved letters on the stone. And all of that is not something I can carry on, one year after another to set a tradition.The grass is growing and dirt long longer fills the lettering up.
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Year two Memorial Day weekend was a long, lonely stretch of time when it seemed like the entire world was off having fun but me. My arm was in a cast and I couldn’t go to the cemetery or anywhere else without asking someone to take me, which I didn’t do. (See what I mean about the car keys?) And that was certainly not something I wish to carry on, one year after another to set a tradition. So Plan 2014 evolved and it includes staying off Facebook so I don’t have to see photos of camping trips, cottages and picnics we used to attend. And I decided Plan 2014 would include a project around the house. Your mission, should you choose to accept it widow lady, is to keep busy. So a few days ago I bought a boat load of perennials and I will decorate everything that doesn’t get out of my way. Even the dog might get a flower in his collar if he comes looking for affection out on the deck. 
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But I’m feeling the pull of the cemetery, too, where they only allow footed urns that the sexton ends up putting on top of the stones and leaving them there for the entire summer. It might make the mowing easy but that’s not going to happen to me, Buster! I’m not covering up Don’s name and vital statistics---those two dates with the all import dash in the middle. I love that dash. I spent forty-two years of my life as part of that dash. God, he was only 28 when we met! It seems like a hundred years ago. I know we can’t go back and wishing I could only wastes the time I have left, but if I could I’d like to think I wouldn’t take so many things for granted. When we have it, we think love and companionship is always going to be a part of our daily existence. Surprise!  
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So instead of an urn full of plants to sit on Don’s tombstone I will take my tube of super-doper glue and put another Snoopy themed trinket on the stone. By July 4th it will be gone, the victim of a crime or dried-out glue and a strong wind---I don’t know which and don’t care to know. But if I ever go over there and find a little kid peeling Snoopy off the granite, I’m going to paddle his little butt. I wouldn’t really do that, of course, but his mother is going hear about it. Don was rarely without a Snoopy near-by. He had two Snoopy watches, a half a dozen coffee cups and tee-shirts. You always knew he was in a good mood when Snoopy (or Mickey Mouse) showed up.
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Last week while looking for stuff to sell on eBay or in my mall booth I came across his vintage Snoopy music box. It plays Happy Days are Here Again and I never liked it which, of course, makes me feel guilty now for not allowing him to display it in the living room. (Why do we humans argue over such meaningless things like decorating a room? I should have found the compromise and let Snoopy dance in the living room six months out of the year.) It should be easy to let go of a music box I don't like, right? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had it in and out of the mall stock box! Cripe, maybe I should super glue it on Don’s tombstone and hope a determined little boy in a grubby romper suit will come along and steal it. If it wasn’t made out of glass I’d do just that. But I can visualize the sexton’s lawn mower throwing a stone and breaking the top, leaving behind just the wind-up base playing Happy Days are Here Again with the winds winding it up from time to time. And wouldn’t that give the people visiting Don’s neighbors in the cemetery something to talk about. "Why his wife must be happy her husband is dead!" one widow woman would say and her friend would reply, "I've never seen anything more disgusting in my life!" And if I was in ear-shot I'd say: "Happy Memorial Day to you, too, you judgmental little bitches." ©
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My other blog is here: The Misadventures of Widowhood

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Comment by Blue Snow on May 25, 2014 at 1:21pm

Hendrixx, I feel the same way about keeping busy. It helps but on some level keeping busy actually accentuates the underlying sadness, doesn't it.

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Thanks for the comment!

Comment by hendrixx2 on May 25, 2014 at 6:52am

Hi Snow,

Nice, it's a curios things to try and remember those first attempts at getting past celebration days alone; the notion of traditions and exercising them does have a strong pull. I believe that trying to adopt new traditions, if any at all, may help in my quest to come to terms with the loss of doing certain things at those times..and of course now we can see the folly in such things as what should be displayed and where and why this item should go here instead of there, but it's all part of the human condition and somehow we can manage to come to terms with that. Snoopy was a favorite of DJ's also and I kept the Christmas sweatshirt with his image printed on it...i won't be leaving it at the cemetery, but maybe this year I will actually wear it during the season...keeping busy helps, but only so far for me, tho the memories of these times are not so painful today, the background sadness just can't be denied. Thank you for an opportunity to read this, it helps with the busyness also...wishing you Peace and Healing...

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