If you read my memoir, Chiseled, you were introduced to my brave-hearted mother, Patricia. She was a lover of plants and animals and all things living and non-living including rocks, beautiful stones, fallen autumn leaves, and wind-swept wood washed up on beaches. She languished in her later years with Alzheimer's and forgot it all. But I remember for her.
This autumn, I took a walk through the vineyard on a blustery October day to the northwest perimeter of the property where five Sweet Gum maples are showing off their starburst leaves of flaming red and yellow. These are special trees. They are special because my mother lives in them. Her ashes feed the limbs and trunks of these fully living beings, each tree planted and dedicated to one of her children and her grandchildren. Her ashes are nurturing the roots and swelling into the branches and pushing life into the buds of new growth each year.
I missed her today and needed to touch her--and there she was--warm wood, blazing color, limbs reaching out to me, sap flowing through the veins of my repurposed mother. I let myself be wrapped up in her leafy caresses, and her tender bark and I told her I loved her. How pretty she looked today. And how strong. And she was there.
When people ask me if I still have faith--my reply is a hearty yes! I will not settle for the easy answers of religious dogmas, but I have faith in this certainty--of life after death, in this repurposed dust that is my mom and shall be me too, over and over again for millenia as I have been for millenias before. I am reconstituted and repurposed and part of this great creation --recreated over and over again in wonderous new varieties. My mother is in glorious autumn attire. I hope to be so lucky one day.