October 16, 2011

Closure in the Fall

Today was Pop's birthday, so we stopped by the cemetery to put flowers on his grave as well as that of my mother-in-law's.

Today was a tough day and I'm not sure why. Today... the cemetery felt like new grief. It was overwhelming. Was it seasonal? All over were Fall flowers, pumpkins, and October displays. Everything felt fresh.

The grief felt the freshest. As I stepped out of the car, it hit me. I immediately turned to my right and there was a grave stone I'd not seen before. She was my age. She was buried in June.

The rest of the trip was just horrible. It just felt oppressive. I could hardly breathe.

I looked to my left and I saw like it was yesterday, the scene that played out a few years ago. I could see the teenager leaning against the wall, walking away, coming back to it, grief wracking his body. I saw the father, standing aside, walking around, pacing, coming back, unable to say or do anything.

I remember standing there watching, tears streaming down my face as I saw this family falling apart. I was a voyeur to something so awful, something so raw, something they should have had the privacy for, but instead were unashamed with grief in public. When I first witnessed it, I quickly turned and went to my mother in law's grave. I tried to stall us... keep them to their own.

But it was time to leave, we got in the car, and the grief washed over all of us. I cried as we left, my husband was horrified as I was for this family. Staring straight ahead I said to him, "I'm not going to get over this. I'm damaged..." We drove home in silence.

I have never forgotten that scene. I have vowed, that over time, I would walk over to the wall where she was laid to rest, I'd find her marker, I'd find out who she was. Who was this woman so loved, taken too early?

Today I needed to know. I needed to know because deep down inside, I wonder if I will ever run into her son. There are times I pray for him. The father would find a way for handling the grief of the loss of his wife, but children... how do you deal with the loss of a parent? I cannot comprehend... losing a mother so young.

I knew I'd know her. I knew the building she was at, approximately the location, and as my husband and boys paid respects to my inlaws, I quietly read through the dates until I found her. Across from her spot was a marble bench that had her name along with little engravings of things she loved, like seashells from the beach and golf clubs. Engraved along the side it said, "Best Mother in the World".

I cried again.

She had been 51. With my cell phone, I found her name, her obit, and saw how she died and who had survived her. I have a name to add to my prayers now... instead of the 'unnamed teenage boy', I have his name and some stranger he will never meet, will quietly pray that he is well.

I think of him often.

Posted by Boudicca at October 16, 2011 08:14 PM

It is those 'unknown' prayers that make and keep us human...

Posted by: Mrs. Who at October 16, 2011 09:44 PM

Your compassion both overwhelms and humbles me...

As with so many of your posts, the monitor seems blurry...

Posted by: pam at October 17, 2011 01:57 PM


Posted by: Jilly at October 17, 2011 06:58 PM

I'm blurry eyed too. I hope the young man was able to deal with his grief and not let it ruin his life. I'll be praying for him too.

It reminded me of a scene I once witnessed. There is a cemetery that is visible from I-10. Even at 70 mph, I could see a woman sitting in the grass facing a headstone with her head on her knees. I wanted to exit and go hug her. I think of her every time I drive that section of I-10.

Posted by: sticks at October 18, 2011 07:45 PM

..... in a world where not many people blog anymore, this was a very, very beautiful piece....... I wish more people saw the world through your eyes.......


Posted by: Eric at October 18, 2011 08:48 PM