Bob’s Lake 2010 and Thoughts on Burials

4 Aug

This is a picture of Bob’s Lake that was taken in 2010.  Canada has a

Forever Green Law which protects islands from being despoiled by cottages.  As a result, the landscape is often quite beautiful.  This notch is right across from my favorite reading spot.

Mom and I and her friend, Kate Payne, went there for four days recently.  For some reason I am always happiest there.  I’ve even told my mother that I’d like to be buried on our land.  I think the only way I could be buried at Bob’s Lake is through cremation.  Mom, being Mom, votes for me to be buried at Pleasant Grove Cemetery in one of the 5 spots next to my father.  I love my Dad, but I have a hankering to be buried in Canada.

Of course, people don’t always have their last wishes respected.  Jeanne, my best friend from high school, lost her brother, Mark, to stomach cancer several years ago.  He had taken early retirement from the government and had chosen to return (notice the pun) to Ithaca.  He wanted his ashes thrown over Taughannock Falls, a place that is very symbolic for most Ithaca residents.  Wouldn’t you know, his ashes were put in an urn and buried next to his mother’s urn in a graveyard in Plattsburg, New York.  The nerve!

My friend Scott participated in an experience that was probably far from what the deceased had wanted.  This occurred during a hot air balloon ride about twenty years ago.  His girlfriend had given him the present of the balloon ride for his birthday.  They waited for the day to come with anticipation.  Accompanying them on the ride were the balloonist and a grieving father-daughter combination.  At a “special” moment the ashes were released into the air and in the next moment, an eddy of wind brought the ashes back into the faces of all present.  Scott said they couldn’t react, given the situation, and that made it even worse.

Tom Spero, a writers’ group friend,  arrived in a package thrown at my door after he  died.  His ex-wife had divvied up his ashes, and Brian and I received our allotment.  We took them to what was still the Guthrie Theatre and placed our share of the ashes under a tree. Hopefully Tom would have appreciated the gesture.  We also read some Shakespeare.  Tom was an actor, after all.

I say all this about cremation, but I’ve never liked the phrase “Ashes to ashes, Dust to dust,” even though I asked for that biblical verse to be used at my Grandpa Mapes’ funeral.  That reminds me of what Kate said last weekend:  she was trying to get her head around the Hindu idea of impermanence.  Her son, a chef, committed suicide in 1992.  I like to think that we are reincarnated and get to come back again.  I believe this, even though I am a Christian, so maybe Kate’s son is re-circulating.

Speaking of my own death, even though I’ve thought about being buried in Canada, I see myself in an urn on my niece Rebecca’s mantel or in the mind of my niece Anna C’laire’s first-born, Kathryn Claire.  “Who was I named after?,” she’ll say.

3 Responses to “Bob’s Lake 2010 and Thoughts on Burials”

  1. claireaperez August 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    Kathryn, this is a great post. I am behind in reading your blog due to internet slowness. The ballon part is in its own macabre way, hilarious, what happens to some of these ashes. I have always found it strange when people divide them up, but it seems all to common. I guess in the end, it doesn’t matter. I want to visit these pristine lakes sometime, the photo is great.

  2. Sherri May 22, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    Kathryn, forgive me for intruding. I lost my brother Mark not long ago and I was sitting here missing him. I needed to feel closer to him so I did a search for Bob’s lake where my brother and I spent every summer growing up. It is a magical place where we were always happy. I know the view in your picture well. I actually took my husband there, 10 years back now. Time goes by so fast. I am now 47 but it feels like yesterday that I was there. I’m so glad to see you love it too.

    It doesn’t matter where your ashes go – the only thing that matters is where your heart is.
    All the best and I hope you enjoy many more moments on the lake.
    Sherri

    • Sherri: I wonder if you stayed at our family cottage. I’m Kathryn Mapes and my mother, brother, and I still own the cottage. Quite a number of people from Cornell U. have stayed there and others. My father, Barth Mapes, died in 2009. There’s a camp owned by an Arab group group next to us and they rent out the camping spots nearby. I’m sorry to hear about your brother. It’s amazing to read your comment. I hope you get back to Bob’s Lake.

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