Sunday, January 04, 2015

What Do You See, Little Stone Angel?

She walked into the cemetery clutching two bunches of artificial flowers. Flowers and hair-she's obviously no good at arranging either of them. But every single time she enters the cemetery with her carefully chosen artificial flowers, she has high hopes of hitting perfection with her flower arrangement. Most times she is disappointed. Today was one of those days. She had to walk away with an inner sigh and an unspoken "It's good enough." Some things are okay being good enough. She didn't sit on her grandmother's tombstone as she usually did. She didn't sit on her son's vault as she usually did. It was cold. The concrete would have been cold.

All she had was silk and plastic. How could she expect perfection?

All she saw that day was imperfection and impermanence.

There was a lone poinsettia stem nestled between two graves that had blown from a nearby Christmas bouquet.

There were dead branches from a plant that had long ago seen its better days.

There was a stone that somehow got moved from its spot on a vault, leaving virgin concrete as white as the woman's thighs exposed and shining for all to see.

And there was Golden Jesus, nestled between silk fern stems and red poinsettias, with his arms beckoning wide.

Last, but not least, there was this pouting angel. She may have been the one who took the walk through the cemetery, and the one who wrote this accounting of the activities of the woman who can't arrange flowers or hair.

It gets lonely in the cemetery. Sometimes she likes to think about the lives of the people who visit the cemetery. The living ones. The sad ones. She may have imagined the part about the woman sighing and thinking it's good enough but she did not imagine the woman's sadness.

(When I write about my grief, I worry that people will think I am drowning in it. I am not. But there are times when the feelings wash over me, and sometimes I deal with that by writing about it.

My son's best friend, the one he was working and living with in Pennsylvania when he died, came by to visit us before he left to go back to work in Colorado. In about a month, he is moving back home for a while. He was a very good friend to my son, and my son to him. We had a very good visit, talking a bit more about the night he died, and the days before that. We told a few stories and shared a few laughs and good memories of my son. That's the other way I honor my grief, by remembering the stories of his life.

My youngest went by to see the friend and she texted me to say seeing him made her miss her brother so much more, that it was like peeling a scab. It's never been that way for me, though I know it has been that way for my husband. But this time around, he seemed better able to deal with seeing the friend, and got to ask him a few questions about our son's last days, which seemed to help him. Healing does come, but the scars always remain.)

12 comments:

  1. The realism of how you write about your grief speaks to me. Thanks.

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  2. I'm glad to hear that, Rach. Thank you.

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  3. Thank you for trusting us enough to share this. I know our situations are different but, I understand the washing over.

    You and the flowers are always more than good enough.

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    1. Thanks, Mindy! I know you do understand the washing over of your own grief, and my heart goes out to you...

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  4. Honesty. Out of one's "belly". This is where we meet. With one another. With Him. Hearing you, Annie, and somehow am "connected" even though your journey is not specifically mine. Good to sit down with you at His well...

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    1. It's always good to hear from you, Jim. I'm glad to have you around.

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    1. Thanks, Denise! Much love back to you!

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  6. I love the Golden man... but seriously... being someone who likes cemeteries and feel ok with being there, busying myself chatting away to them who obviously are not there... there is comfort. No matter the weather. No matter what. I always said, as some wise one said before me, we do our best to honor our loved ones to live as though they were still among us.
    For me, like your friends son and you.. it does the heart good that someone remembers them and loves them the way you do. Someone who isn't afraid to talk about them as though they never lived. I always wanted that for Gary... that people would remember his life, not the fact that he died. That's what brought me comfort.
    Sad because I been missing my Dad this past couple weeks and have no idea why. I miss my damn dad.
    I like your flowers.

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    1. Thanks, Lori! You are right, there is something special about people remembering the lives of our loved ones. It's funny how grief can slip up on us years later.

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  7. ((((annie)))) Sometimes the waves are just too big. Sorrow is a strange thing. It's good that you express yourself about it. And, in as much as we can, we sit with you.

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    1. Thank you, Daisy. I'm very grateful for your presence with me.

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