My mother died last week. As I anticipate the coming days, I wish I could return to Pettisville, Ohio with all my children and grandchildren. The cemetery stands in the shadow of the school where I attended and graduated–along with my siblings and cousins.

Just down the street is my first home. I would love to tell the younger ones stories of growing up in the small Ohio village with aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents close by. I would tell tales of admiring Grandma’s tulips and helping Grandpa pick raspberries, of watching the production of apple cider and molasses at the mill my grandparents owned just down the street.

I might point out it was more than fifty years ago the family had gathered here for the first for the burial of my father after his untimely death at age forty-eight.

 Rachel (left) and her mother visit the family plot in 2016.

Now we will go to lay to rest the body of my mother who lived a good ninety-eight years. How I wish all my children and grandchildren could hear me refer to the Communion of the Saints and speak the words “… ashes to ashes, dust to dust …” before my mother’s body is lowered into the earth. Instead, because of COVID-19, only one daughter and one grandson will be present. I expect a small gathering of relatives will stand at a distance around Mother’s grave.

Nevertheless, the last plot in our line will be filled.

Rachel (Apr.’20) adds, “I hope before the end of the committal service the group will sing, “‘God be with you until we meet again.’”


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