Today, Monday, March 15, 2010, would have been -- should have been -- Jim's 47th birthday.
I was at the cemetery for an hour in the late morning. I take what comfort I can in knowing that his arrangements were what he had asked for, piecemeal, during what turned out to be his final year -- in a plain pine box, in the ground, by the duck pond, at Green Acres Memorial Park. (Technically, that specific area is known as Garden of the Good Shepherd.) Jim's beloved maternal grandparents and many of his other deceased relatives are also at Green Acres.
Someone recently asked me about that simple, inexpensive casket. In truth, I have no idea why Jim wanted that specifically, although I can guess; as many of you know, Jim never had a taste for the ornate, the ostentatious, or anything showy or status-conscious.
I will never know whether Jim ever knew that a plain pine box is also the Orthodox Jewish way. That longstanding tradition is supposed to apply to everyone -- rich, poor or in-between -- because ultimately all stand equal before what Jim liked to refer to as The Man Upstairs.
It was the most beautiful day of the year so far, probably about 70, sunny and with just the slightest breeze, which blew the mist from the fountains from the duck pond onto my face.
Those of you who were able to attend the reception after the funeral late in the afternoon of Oct. 9, 2009, know that Jim -- who never served in the military -- was nonetheless accorded a high honor. He (or, technically, I) was presented with a flag that was folded before us, with great ceremony, in exactly the way it is performed for departed veterans.
After a couple of abortive attempts elsewhere in recent weeks, I finally was able to purchase an attractive, correctly sized display case for the flag. I'll keep it with me for the next couple of visits at least until I figure out how to hang it on the wall or otherwise display it.
I'll be back at Green Acres after his marker is installed, which should be by mid-April at latest.
And I'll be there May 31, Memorial Day -- which would have been, should have been, our 18th wedding anniversary AND our re-commitment ceremony.