Sunday, February 1, 2009

Graveyards At Night

My friend Beth asked me from a recent post "What makes you go to the cemetery at night?
You are a good friend to me Beth and have sought to understand me from the beginning of my grief walk.

It's a question that several people have asked me during the last 5 years so can I assume that others may want to know as well?

Maybe so.
Maybe not.

As most people know, mention a graveyard around a group of people where one person has experienced loss and you will immediately have a new insight on the phrase "conversation stopper".
Everybody squirms.
Most people will never discuss or bring the subject up.

Here's my thoughts on Jae's burial place.

They may not be very understandable.
Some may think them macabre.
Some may think "scandalous!"
Many will see me as not coping well in this area.

However,..the very definition of "cope" means to contend with difficulties.

I think I am contending just fine.

I count my hours spent at the cemetery as some of the most sacred times of my life. Sitting besides the earthly body of the oldest daughter whom I still love so deeply, but am unable to see or hold is agonizing.
Yet,.... a thousand horses will not keep me away.
Today, almost 5 years after her death, is there that I feel closest to her.

I can sit right up next to her beautiful black headstone and know that I am mere inches away from her beautiful blond hair.

I can stretch out beside the grave and recall the times we lay in a similar fashion on our beds, the beach or in the grass of our front yard.

I can sit on the bench at her feet and feel as if I am looking almost directly into her sweet little face.

Some people "talk" to their loved one in the grave, but I never do.
The conversations I have there are with God, not Jae.

As I lay on my blanket there beside her grave and look into the starry sky, I make an attempt to connect the two realms,...Heaven where she is and Earth,..where she is no more.
Those are both big subjects to ponder, and they have stretched my brain and heart beyond what I thought I could do.
The things I've learned in my cemetery pondering moments are things that can not be found in books.

I can't tell how many times I have stood beside the grave and looked up into Heaven and pointed down to her grave asking God "Do you see this catastrophe? Are you looking at this?"

Knowing that He does,..fills me with confusion and yet, me comfort.

I often approach her grave and sink with despair onto the very piece of ground which covers and holds one of the most "alive" person I have ever known. Then other times, I quickly drop by to "check on things" and leave filled with peace and gratitude that she was mine for 16 years.
I marvel that it's possible to feel that way.

I hate it is in the middle of town. Surrounded by storage units, a dry cleaner and auto parts store. Then other times, I love that she is in the middle of town. People go by often to be near her.

I sit beside her grave and gaze at the thousand other graves which hold people who are no longer missed or mourned. For that reason, I get encouraged when people go by her grave and leave her mementos. It makes me know that she is not forgotten.

Rainy, icy cold weather causes my stomach to knot up. I hate that she is out there in it.

I'm a patient girl. But I just may get a little bit snippy with anyone who tries to tell me that "she's not there. She is in Heaven."

No one knows that as well as I do.

But few people say that to me.
I am blessed with friends who allow me, encourage me and would go there with me to the grave if I asked them to.

I think that giving attention to Jae's grave is scriptural. "Burial places" are mentioned throughout the Bible. Many of my favorite Bible character stories end with the phrase,
"....and then he/she died and was buried."
God could have said that they just "died".

Someday Jae, her grandparents, her aunts and uncles, her friend Lauren who is just a few feet away and others will come out of their graves. I believe they will literally "come out" of that grave which I love/hate.
John 5:28 says:
The time is coming when everyone who is dead and buried will hear His voice and walk out into a resurrected Life.
I have trouble comprehending and understanding that,..but I try to imagine it anyway.

It is my hope.
It is my hope.


Beths Blog said...

That was a great post Becky. I can so see me doing the same thing. All those years growing up around the cemetary, I enjoyed going around looking at the markers, esp. the ones with pictures and wonder about the person. My heart would just hurt for them.

My daddy always said he wanted to be standing in the middle of the cemetary working when Jesus returns because he wanted to see all those people rise up! He'll join Jae one day and they will rise up together.

Come Lord Jesus Come!
I love you becky!

CandaceK said...

Your words, your spirit, your heart, your love, and your faith are all so powerful in their fragility and longing. Thank you for sharing this very personal, intimate inside look into your heart and life.
I love you, my friend.