Went to the burial of my aunt’s ashes this weekend at a gorgeous cemetery with her sons, granddaughters and husband. The seven of us sat in folding chairs and cried by the hole in the ground while attempting to sum up her life and what she meant to each of us. We put earth from her garden on top of her box of ashes and set her favorite gardening trowel in the hole with her.
The most striking moment, besides the genuine gratitude I felt amongst us all for simply being there together to hang on to, was spotting the A.A. Milne quote on the shared gravestone she and my uncle selected together a few years ago. She was a lover of this classic children’s author and all that he wrote. She read enough of his poems and stories to her kids and grandkids over the years that a reading from Winnie-the-Pooh is all that one of her sons had to say during the brief service. Christopher Robin explains to Pooh how being together is better than being alone. Unbeknownst to my cousin until he saw it too, coincidentally the words, “Us Two”, from the poem he read graveside is inscribed on his parent’s headstone.
Reading to kids matters because the ideas presented in literature symbolize ideas that cannot be articulated perfectly by the rest of us. Speaking your love may come in the form of time spent with a book that isn’t even that good, but the time spent, and the closeness felt, is worth more than can ever be measured.