Last night I read a post on a little red hen where Naomi shares the peace she felt while strolling with baby buggy in the old Maple Grove Cemetery. I was inspired because I had spent a good long time during yesterday afternoon's sweltering temperatures sitting in the shade, sipping a "pop" talking to my dad about my business. My dad always loved to lie out on the grass in summertime, under the shade of an old tree, sipping a Coke with salted peanuts floating inside the bottle. I think it was a southern thing. That's why we chose the grave we did for him; even though it was on the periphery of all the "action" of the new Veteran's Cemetery, it was a place he would have liked.
There was a fresh grave dug, the pile of loosened dirt carefully draped with a huge piece of astro-turf. I teased dad about the place becoming popular, another new neighbor. Mom would have said in a hushed tone, "Oh Marianne!" Dad would have grinned a sly grin and kept his eyes to the ground. Thinking I was funny. Happy that I riled Mom's tail feathers.
Dad was always proud that I had a mind for work, that I could figure things out and use tools, that I could recognize and make pretty good guesses when the car was acting up, that I could hold my own in crisis. He never quite got to the place of trusting my business sense. And I mean, I don't blame him. A single mother with 5 children doesn't have much to work with in that area. He bailed me out a lot. So we had to have a long, heart to heart yesterday. I had to know he was proud of me right now at this turn toward a new venture in my life. I'm doing an amazing job and his example guides me. I needed to share my appreciation. All those times he kicked me in the ass for bouncing another check come to mind. But hey. When life gave me a medicine ball, I tried to bounce it. I learned.
So in the evening when I was sweaty hot from working, I went back to the cemetery. Said a quick hi to Dad, then began my walk through the old cemetery lying above the new, pristine, manicured one, designed for the Vet, the military man. The shiny buttons and polished shoes of my dad and his buddies. This old cemetery was more to my liking, more welcoming to me. So much more to read about a glorious, hard-working, mother-father-son-daughter-sister-brother-spouse-friend.
The gravestones all so different, singing the glory of the cherished soul finally resting in the earth beneath. Some decorated and polished daily, some seemingly so lonely and abandoned. Faded Christmas trees and stuffed animals, lone pinecones, Moss-covered stone, chiseled marble or carved wood. Some sharing out-dated photos of the memory of the beloved. Lizards. Flower stems that the deer left behind. Sports team pennants, lots of angels.
There was one beautiful stone seat. That is what I want! A place where those who have something to say to me can come and sit awhile. Chat. And know that I will check in there often. A happy place where jokes are told and pinecones are left. A place to show me your garden boquets and cry to me when you feel like no one else is hearing you. A place for children to climb, to sit and play dolls upon, or to roll toy cars over the rough surface. Don't worry about whispering or being irreverant. I will be laughing too. Remember who I really am. No matter how old and frail my body gets, or if I get cranky (God-forbid, please) remember who I REALLY am.
And in the center of the stone seat, I hope there is a shining piece of rose quartz, the constant reminder of my grateful heart for the love that I have lived in this lifetime.
I noticed how soon after the death of one spouse, followed the other. Many very close. Is this the definition of soulmates? Can two hearts really beat as one? Will my heart truly break wide open for another?
And then I think I came upon the purpose of my late evening mission. There was a grave that looked so alone and abandoned. I went to say a prayer there and saw that it was my ex husband's ex roomate. I never knew him because Roger moved out and in with me soon after we met. The town go getter/lady's man (the closet drug addict) who died very young of a brain aneurism in 1989. "Our Darling" it read. I looked at the adjacent graves and saw they were, I think, his parents. Dad died before Jerry. Mom died in 1997.
Something called me to this grave this night. Something tugged from afar upon the universal apron strings of motherhood. And for Jerry's mother, whom I never knew, I will return today to tidy up his grave and lay some of my garden flowers upon it.