To see my family at their final resting place. I have never been to this place before, yet I suddenly had decided after my acupuncture appointment, this is what I wanted to do. I googled the location and realized I was super close to where they are.
The rain, coming down heavily, didn’t deter me. After my treatment, I started to waver a little, as to whether I would go or not. Then I told myself to drive to the location and that way I would know where it is. Even if I didn’t get out of the car, at least I knew where it was. Something I hadn’t known, although my relatives have described the area to me more than once.
My two dogs Blaze and Lucy are with me, that doesn’t surprise me though. Anything of significance Blaze has always been there for the last 7 years of his life. Lucy is now part of this journey.
We pull in to the cemetery, looking around, the first thing I see is green and lots and lots of flowers. There are many loved ones who are missed. I was looking now, looking for where my family was supposed to be laid to rest. I remember my cousin T saying that the family wasn’t far from the entrance, so off I go. The raining is falling heavier now, the dogs are anxious, thinking they are going to get out, little do they realize they aren’t.
After a few minutes of looking at the various plots, taking in each name and date, I realized some have been here since the late 1800’s. I have always found that fascinating, to know that a person has been laid to rest from such a long time ago.
As I wasn’t having any luck finding my family, I walked to the caretaker’s office. He was with someone so I waited, rain falling on me, soothing in its touch on my skin, reminding me of when I was a child, catching drops on my tongue.
I tried again, to see if I could find my family. Somehow being there, I felt connected to everyone, even though I hadn’t seen where they were laid to rest. Shortly thereafter, the caretaker takes me back to the office to look up my family. It was a rather unique experience to see how people are laid to rest and how the caretakers know where everyone is.
We drive to where my family is, he walks with me. I liked how personal he was with me, even if it was just make sure I was with the right plots. We chatted for a few minutes, he said he remembered when Sean was laid to rest, he shared with me how members of the band had cracked open a beer, took a drink and then placed their cans with Sean as he was laid to his final resting place. I shared a little about my family, a sense of pride came over me. We talked about the family crest Sean has on his headstone and how he thought that was great.
Shortly he leaves me with my thoughts, and I thank him for helping me.
I return to face each headstone, the first time I have been around all my family in a long time. The last time being when each person was alive. A sense of peace came over me. I didn’t expect it. I realized that I wasn’t crying and this kind of confused me. I guess because I felt I “should” be crying as that is what people do when they are at a cemetery, right? I bent down to each headstone, placing my hand on my father’s headstone first. I cleaned his off, the rain still falling, watering the grass around me. I’m soaked, but I didn’t notice. All I saw was my family, the very people who have either supported me in emotional support, or in familial support in raising me.
I talked with my father for a few minutes, I notice the flower pot, flowers no longer there. I take it and tell dad that I will bring him some fresh flowers next time. The same for my Grandparents and my Uncle. Sean has flowers and many beautiful tokens of love and friendship on his headstone. I told my father that while growing up, I was mad that he wasn’t there for me, but I am no longer. I understand that this wasn’t his fault, that he didn’t “ask” for cancer. I moved to the next headstone, and I placed my hands on my Uncle’s headstone. smiling as I read his “Gone Fishing” on it. I thanked him for being there for me, for listening to me and just being there as my father wasn’t able to be.
My grandparents, I smiled as I touched their photo that is embedded in their headstone with the words “united in heaven”. I realized when I read the dates that they had been apart 10 years before they were reunited. I could only imagine the smiles on their faces knowing they were no longer apart. I thanked them for being there for me, for looking after me, for always listening to me when I needed a shoulder.
I go over to Sean’s headstone, smiling at the tokens of love for him. From the small guitar, to the flowers and guardian angel. I could feel the love for him. My first words to him were “Sean, what are we going to do with you” I said laughing. See, when Sean and I spoke or messaged one another, I used to say stuff like that to him; as I would with those I care about. Never in haste or judgment.
I apologized to Sean for not realizing how unwell he really was. That I wish he found the strength to stick it out as I would have walked side by side with him, together we would fight our mental illnesses. I never expressed anger, as I realized I’m not angry with him; but I do hurt for him; just as I do for each family member who is beside him. I told each person I loved them, and to my father I told him that I won’t be gone so long between visits, now that I know where he is.
I decide that it is time to walk back to my car. I’m pretty wet now and I realize that my runners are wet and soaking through to my socks, a pet peeve of mine lol.
My dogs are all excited when I return to my car, Lucy, full of craziness, as she always is whenever I return the car. Blaze, his quiet self, almost like he knows how I am going to be, before I even got into my car.
I hesitate in leaving, taking in the moment, memorizing which trees, flowers and headstone that are near everyone, so next time I will know where to find them.
Perhaps a sense of closure has come over me, knowing that being close to my family, helps me not feel abandoned; that even if I don’t see them, I know they are with me in spirit.
I’m not sure if I have processed all my thoughts, or if there are any thoughts more to process. I only know I feel quiet inside, not sad, just…. quiet. Perhaps reflective is more the word I am looking for.