My great uncle Nuku remarked on our last family meeting after my mother passed away that it's not so significant for us to visit our mother in the cemetery. What's more important is that we should carry on the legacy that she has left with us in this life.
He said in Tongan: "Mahina 'e tolu mei heni kou talaatu, he 'ikai temou toe 'asi kimoutolu ki mala'e ke sio ki ho'omou fa'ee."
English translations: "Three months from now, no one is going to visit your mother at the cemetery".
Instantly considering what he was saying, I said to myself: "Don't presume to know what we are and are not going to do uncle. You are talking about my mother here."
Ever since my mother died, I have been constantly visiting the cemetery.
Not to prove my uncle wrong but to be with her and remember her.
As a child I was terrified of cemeteries. Too many haunting and scary stories left me horrified to even go close to one, let alone visit one. Those experiences has long been changed. Now I go to the cemetery to REMEMBER!
I'm drawn to it. It's like a bridge connecting me to those who have passed on. A bond between the living and the dead. Across the evergreen lawns of the cemetery is the buzz of life of the living. So busy and noisy. Here, is so peaceful, quiet and tranquil. Like a garden. All are resting in peace whether they died peacefully or not.
What are the odds that my mother is buried right next to her mother-in-law and sister-in-law Mamaa and 'Ana Seini? My grandmother and much loved aunt. Coming from a far off foreign land just to end up being buried right next to each others. How wonderful is that!
When I visit, I feel like I'm in a cocoon of loving arms embracing me. Showering me with sunny smiles and welcoming kisses. I remember them. All of them. So my visits are never going to be far-and-few in-between. They will be more often then not.
My thoughts when I visit the cemetery:
Here lies my mother, 'Ana Patiola Fekitoa Tuita.
This spot marks her burial plot.
Her spirit may be gone but her body and bones linger on.
Right here she rests until that day
When her spirit will claim her body once again.
Until then, happy sleep, my lovely mother.
Her headstone will be laid down a year from last month. As for now her grave will be decorated with beautiful flowers and mementos to celebrate and commemorate her life.
Dare I say I look forward to the day where I will join her again? Death has always stirred a dark and frightening feeling in me when I was younger. I DON'T WANT TO DIE. Now, because I understand, it doesn't bother me anymore. It's an inevitable step to the progression of our eternal spirit.
Until that day however, I will live and celebrate life to the fullest. And prepare myself for that day where I will be taking my last breath and joining those who are buried in the greenest of all places under the sun.
'TIL THEN, INHALE, EXHALE, BREATH...... LIVE, LAUGH AND LOVE LOVE LOVE.