Mama spent the week in preparation. Each night after school we wove plastic Chrysanthemums with the greenery collected from the property into Couronnes de Toussaints.
On Thursday, we packed the couronnes and candles into the car for our pilgrimage. The candles filled the confines of the car with a heady aroma of incense that made my eyes water like Mama’s.
“Today is a holy day of obligation,” Mama said as we drove into the church parking lot.
Mass droned in my ears and I dreamed of the happy days we spent with Daddy. After mass, we walked to the cemetery. Daddy’s grave was first. We removed the old couronne, replacing it with the newly made one. We lit the candles, leaving them to burn in the darkness. Mama pressed her hand to the cold stone and closed her eyes. She was silent for a long time.
We visited other family members who preceded us in death, replacing couronnes and lighting candles at each grave. Mama said we should ask those at a state of grace, to guide us on our journey. I wasn’t sure what she meant, so I prayed, asking them to help Mama.
“Now, we must visit Aunt Odilia and Uncle Bertrand,” Mama said leading us among the graves.
“Mama?” I said tugging on her sleeve, concerned for our mistake. “There’s just one.” I pointed at the one remaining couronne I carried.
Mama gave my shoulder a squeeze.
“Why, child that’s fine. They’re buried in the same grave.”
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer