I have no idea where it came from, but he said, “I want to take it out to Daddy when we go out there again.”
Yeah, yeah, brought the whole energy level to a halt for a moment when I hit that emotional brick wall, but I recovered and nodded my head. I took two years to bury his ashes and would have taken longer but his sister told me to do it. (Yes, ma’am.)
I just didn’t want to deal with that.
This past summer, I finally ordered his headstone. I think I’ve mentioned that they said some folks take as long as 10 years, so I didn’t feel so bad waiting three-and-a-half.
Three days after cleaning upstairs, I was picking up frivolous things like cat food, dish soap and such at the new Wal-Mart in Victoria when I got the call. They were an hour away and ready to deliver the headstone.
I likened their timing to that of the Grim Reaper - one never knows the time or place.
I called my son, picked up his siblings and headed out to the family cemetery to show them where to place it. Did we have anything that marked the grave? No, not that I could recall. I found three bouquets of artificial flowers at the site. How could I not remember we’d placed them there?
Several times on the way, as he would have said, I sprung a few leaks, despite my attempts to “gitter done.” I thought that perhaps it might have been easier on me if I had done all of this right after he passed, but I didn’t have the strength. So much for my strong nature, eh?
His sister tells me that it’s not necessarily the case of anything being easier or harder regarding the time frame in which we act after the loss of a loved one. It’s more a matter of preparing ourselves for the act.
Having watched as they set the stone in place, I left and headed out to do what any red-blooded American woman would do when she is upset. What? Shop? What do you mean, shop?
No, I didn’t eat, either. Well, I had a double-stuffed Oreo. OK, I had two.
Drink? Yes, I finished my bottle of water. Am I missing something here? I thought we cleaned when we were upset! (I have GOT to get some new friends!)
Regardless, I have some sparkling clean toilets now, which tells you about how I was feeling at the time. I could have sorted through the papers on the dining room table or stained a shelf I’d recently sanded. I picked toilets!
Regardless, they are much cleaner, I think.
Although it was something of an uncomfortable afternoon for me and thoughts of getting as far away from these memories assaulted me yet again, I know I will be fine. I hear repeatedly that “It came to pass,” which reminds me that nothing comes to camp on our doorsteps.
Ecclesiastes tells us that “To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (2:1, 4)
Please don’t breathe a word to my Baptist friends out there, but I’m looking to do a little dancing. I want to see beautiful scenery, prop my feet up, laugh with friends, walk and run through wooded paths and be as far from the reminders as I can get.
“You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.” (John 16:20b)
And, as I think back on some of my fonder memories, the Son shines in my life yet again. Thank you, Lord, for the rainbows after the rains.