That’s because I believe in grieving, it’s for read, a long road that must be traversed and not ignored.
I’m thankful to be a part of people’s grief journey and lately I’ve been wondering how I can best do that.
Should I do a grief related post, once a week? Because it’s not the only reason I write now but it IS a big part of the reason I started writing.
So I guess I could do a day week devoted to grieving. I could ask other writers to chime in, If you’re a regular here, what are you thoughts?
For today though, it’s a grief related day…
For past month I’ve found myself thinking on the same question: Why do we go to the cemetery?
This thought process started when we were in Michigan for Christmas. I was out running some errands for my family (by myself!) and I found myself driving down the street that houses the cemetery where all my family is buried.
As I wound down the street I felt a sudden, pressing need to visit my parent’s gravesite.
So I flipped on my turn signal, changed lanes and turned left into the cemetery. The roads were still a little icy from the hard, overnight freeze and in my haste, I could have easily spun out.
I slowly navigated the hilly cemetery paths, straight, then left, then left again until I stopped our van next to my parent’s headstone.
I laid my head down on the steering wheel and took a deep breath as the memories of their committal services projected themselves on the screen of my mind.
The velvet covered chairs, the tents meant to shield us from the cold March and October weather.
My Brother playing “Be Thou My Vision” on the trumpet.
My uncle reading scriptures over the open graves
The snow melting in my ballet flats.
The flowers we threw onto the wood and white lids
The caskets slowly lowered
The confused “now what” mingling after all was said and done… but not quite.
I remember being told over and over again not to feel attached to those bodies, the ones we laid down in that cold Michigan soil. I remember trying desperately to take comfort in the fact that their true selves, their souls were free and far away.
But… we’re allowed to be sentimental about a home, only the shell that houses a family. We’re allowed to be attached to our wedding rings, only the symbol of our marriage vows. Then it stands to reason that we would be attached to those bodies which housed the souls we loved, doesn’t it?
And I was attached to those bodies, I missed their warmth and the life behind their eyes. They were the way in which I felt my parents love, the way their souls were showcased to me every day of my life.
I was attached. And much of the reason I return to the cemetery lies in this attachment.
Some of us visit gravesides often, we sit and chat, we cry, we wonder and remember. And then some of us never go at all, we can’t bear the monument of all we’ve lost, we prefer to remember the dead through memories and photographs.
When I make my visits to the cemetery, I always find myself feeling nervous and awkward. Should I catch them up on what’s going on with me? Should I bring a letter, fresh flowers?
I want them to know that they’re loved, cherished and missed so deeply.
But my parents are Redeemed and free, they stand in need of nothing. Surely the lost benefit nothing from our visits.
So the reason we go must lie within us, within our “still here, still human” attempts at wholeness and healing.
We all take different paths on our grieving journeys, there is no right way to go about it, so long as you keep going.
So I know it’s tender and perhaps and I understand if you’d rather not, but.. why do you go to the cemetery? What do you do? Does it help? Would you share?
(should I do more dedicated grief-related posts….?)