|Birth: ||Aug. 17, 1909, Russia|
|Death: ||Jan. 19, 1979|
The dead should not abandon their graves. It confuses the living.
I realize this complaint is not fair . My deceased father did not deliberately hide out in the Richmond cemetery rather than remain at the Evergreen cemetery also in the poor rural town in Richmond, Maine. population 3300 folks give or take a few stragglers. It had to be a clerical error. The name on the grave was inscribed in the Cyrillic alphabet.
the purpose of this trip to New England from Bali is about bringing my mother back to my father who kicked the bucket almost literally while shoveling snow beside their house on Langdon Rd on January 19, 1979. It was a good death. swift as a stab to the heart. Good for him. (he hated hospitals) bad for my mother, (the shocked survivor/widow. she could not get over him leaving her standing his body screaming in the irrefutable face of death.
She dreamed about him for 33 years. In that night world he was always too far ahead of her to hear her calls, but in 2011 he turned and smiled and my mother let go of this world and followed him into a realm none of us can enter without giving up everything we have ever known.
Matrona Kaida died in a hospital in Bali, Indonesia. on November 16, 2011.
My husband, Paul and I sprinkled her ashes on Ivan Kaida's grave on July 18, 2012.
We arrived at the Evergreen Cemetery where the town clerk said he had been burried. but that did not turn out to be true. So we searched the grave yard from front to back from side to side and no grave for Ivan kaida.1979 exsisted.
My heart sank . Doubt and dread overwhelmed me. We had flown from the other side of the world with a plastic bag loaded with human ashes and now there was nowhere to leave them.
Paul and I wandered from stone to stone reading names. I worried about the toppled marble stone that had fallen face down. Could that be my father's marker? How will I know since we can't lift the heavy stone? I retreated to the car and let helplessness slide over me like. sludge. Paul showed up telling me He could not find him."They are all ye old New England names only one or two names that could be Russian." He saw the dispair in my eyes.
" Don't give up. Lets go to the Richmond cemetery and search there… maybe there was some record keeping error. They haven't all the data computerized yet."
Grave yards are quiet places, peaceful even if they are in forgotten towns in the middle of rural Maine.
I decide to find my father by intuition. rather than by logic. And things fell into place. At the back of the cemetery is a section devoted to the Russian community that had settled in Richmond in the mid 20th century trying to reclaim some kind of life l resembling what they left behind when World War II ripped them out of their Ukraian farms and villages and threw them into the confusion and opportunity of American freedom. Their children have moved away to big cities, to colleges, to better jobs, to American husband and wives . Their children became Americans just as I did.
Now I am retired and an expat living in a distant sunny Island. many think of as Paridise. My parents died in a land not of their birth or culture and I will do the same but there is one crucial difference- I choose to live in Bali, I can return to to the US if i wish, my mother and father had no such choice. The cold war, communism made that impossible.
Now they are both dead. My father a skeleton in a 33 year old grave and my mother a pouch of ashes.
We placed a callow lily on his grave and talked to my father. I reach into t the ashes. and toss them (her) on the humble weather grave marker. I prayed in the orthodox manner, crossing myself three times in the name of the father, the son and the holy ghost, as best as an agnostic can do. this non scripted ceremony was straight forward, loving, sincere and REAL. this matters to me. Authentic is important to me.
I loved both of them even if it wasn't an easy relationship or a model family. My parents were finally together. In the end, Reunion is what I could do for them. IT felt right. I really did.
Can children ever fully understand their parents?
Maybe not… but we can love them and be dutiful caretakers of their mortal remains. This we can do.
Paul and I drove out of the cemetery, sad, relived and sort of satisfied at doing the best we could. The big questions as to why we live so briefly , struggle so hard and then… just die overwhelms me. The religious answers don't satisfy me . I wish they did.
I think about my parents terrified war torn, tragedy laden lives and recount the BIG moments. my father opened acattle car and a carload of war prisoners leaped into a rain- soaked night into fear and freedom. and a future Ivan Kaida did that. He saved a hundred people. maybe more on railway line in the mountains of Austria. in 1945. My mother, ( 20 years younger than the man who pulled her out of a Nazie labor camp) survived and endurred.
when she was already old she said she had served a sentence called life. she had little capacity for happiness. Life was something you just got through in the best way you could. That is one answer to the "why are we here "question? B it doesn't address the soul part of the damned dilemma. She went to her death not knowing. Does she know now? or are religions just stories we tell ourselves in order to live. while we live out our time?
Some of my best friends and loved ones believe it is all a matter of reincarnation. if this is so then life is a sort of sentence we live out.
Or, once again we tell ourselves stories in order to live and we enact rituals to make meaning of death. Consciousness is both a blessing and a curse.
this is what I think now . I wish it was a nicer happier position. but it isn't.
We are born and we die, in between stuff happens, Life, a continuous process of change that happens to us until we die. the question reappears ..then the cycle begin again… or is it really over?
Evergreen Memorial Cemetery
Plot: Russian Section
Created by: R.C.
Record added: Mar 10, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 106462314