Laying A Son To Rest

Stormy Skies

This past week has been one of chilly weather, quick passing storms, and steady rains. I believe we are on record or will soon make the record of being the chilliest and wettest spring in fifty-some years. Many of our trees are still barely in the budding stage.

What we need is two or three days of sunny weather and decent temperatures. But this is Wisconsin and weather in Wisconsin is rarely dependable.

So I wasn’t surprised when Friday dawned to being the windiest, coldest day. It was the day scheduled to bury Jimbo’s ashes and part of me hoped we’d have a lovely day to do so.

We were a small wind-blown group huddled around his burial site next to his brother John and in with my mom and dad. As we did our little memorial service we could easily have blamed the tears in our eyes from the wind whipping the limbs of the sturdy old oak which houses an owl family every year. The cemetery has kept the tree healthy in the hopes the owls will return each year.  And this tree shades our family burial plot.

After I placed a few mementoes into the ground, my brother Bill and my hubby set Jimbo’s urn into the grave. Then we each took a handful of rose petals and one by one, dropped them into the earth.  First my aunt, the last of her generation, then her son who is two weeks older than Jimbo, then my sisters, Shelley and Mary, my brother and sister-in-law, Marilynn, my hubby, and finally me. The last two handfuls of petals I sent to follow ours. Those were for my youngest son, Stephen who is a quadriplegic and couldn’t do so though he was with us, and my oldest son, Steve, who lives in Alaska and couldn’t get back for this. Then we covered the grave and left Jimbo to the oak trees, the owls, and spirits of the family with whom we placed him.

Another Day

And then it rained, the fog rolled in, and the wind picked up more.

“If tears could make a staircase,
And heartaches make a lane,
We’d walk the path to heaven
And bring you home again.

We hold you close within our hearts,
And there you will remain,
To walk with us throughout our lives
Until we meet again.” Anon

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14 Comments on “Laying A Son To Rest”

  1. Edie Ramer Says:

    Mary Jo, I heart you. I’m sending you cyber hugs. That will have to do until I see you in person.

    And beautiful poem from Anon. It says everything.

  2. Elle J Rossi Says:

    That poem is one of my all time favorites. I have the first half of it on my desk. A treasured gift from a dear friend.

    I like the idea of the owls returning. It makes it all the more peaceful.

  3. virginia mccullough Says:

    I’m glad so many of your family members could be with you to bless Jimbo on his way. I hope you took comfort in having those who loved him at your side.

  4. carol gianforte Says:

    dear Mary Jo-I have never met you and am new to your writing. But I have to think that in your sorrow, you are helping others with your gift of writing. We not only have the experience of sharing your grief, but it taps our very own souls as we wonder about our own life paths.

    We sorrow with you, as we admire your courage. Thank you. Carol Gianforte

  5. caseyclifford Says:


    I’ll take the hugs however I get them. Thanks. I see the bidding continues to rise for our Brenda Novak item. I keep checking several times a day. You should be so happy that you chose such a hot item. 🙂

  6. caseyclifford Says:


    That poem is one of your favorites, too–another characteristic we share… I used it for the first part of our little service but did the whole poem and cried. Yet despite the wind, all could hear me.

    I think the owls are special also.

  7. caseyclifford Says:


    Even though Alaska Steve wasn’t there physically, he was connected by phone–isn’t technology grand? So yes, for family I had those most important with me. And I’m so glad I kept it very small and private.

  8. caseyclifford Says:


    Thank you for adding your comments. I was actually thinking about you the other day and wondering how your writing was coming along. And your thoughts about my writing helping others, I hope so as I’ve been helped and learned so much from what others have written and I’ve read.

  9. Anne Parent Says:

    Mary Jo,
    What a beautiful tribute to your son! Wrapping you in heartfelt hugs!

  10. caseyclifford Says:

    Hey Anne,

    So glad you stopped in or were you blown in? Hasn’t the wind been nasty the past few days? But the sun this morning and the blue skies? Fantastic. And I love the heartfelt hugs.

  11. Darlene Davies Says:

    Mary Jo, as always you write beautifully. This one made me feel like I was right there with you and the thought of the wind and the sounds of it blowing through the tree branches is somehow calming to me. I’ve been thinking of Jimbo since he died and wish I would have known him better as an adult as I did with Johnny. I still think about John so often. I am sometimes surprised at the moments he comes to my mind, but grateful for them as well. I continue to have you in my thoughts and prayers.

  12. Deb Says:

    From your description I felt I was standing near you. There is something so enduring about oaks. A wonderful spot to lay Jimbo to rest…a perfect spot with the others who have gone before. A warm hug, my friend. See you soon.

  13. caseyclifford Says:


    Thanks for the compliment about my writing and your comments about John. If you wish to see what I wrote about him specifically, go the the archives in this site (homepage) and click on December 2008, and scroll down to Remembering John. I wish I would have had such a blog as this when he died as that death I kept my grief inside and some of it is coming out in my writings on Jimbo. Thank you for keeping John and Jimbo in your thoughts.

  14. caseyclifford Says:


    I can’t wait until early June either though you are probably dreaded the travel portion of your trip. 🙂
    Yes, the family plot is perfect other than the farm which was too far away for me to visit regularly. So Jimbo and John are once again side by side under an old oak tree. 🙂

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