Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hanging Out in Graveyards

I don't know what it is about hanging out in graveyards that I find so soothing? I've never been creeped out to be in one. In my senior year, I used to eat breakfast in one. But unfortunately, I've spent the better part of 18 years visiting my children in one or another. 

I can't say I feel a particular "connection" to any soul lingering around. I don't go & "feel" people in the cemetery specifically. But I do feel a sense of not being alone. 

I run almost daily in our local cemetary ~mostly because I've deemed it a safe place to teach my spastic lab HOW to jog safely with his human (me) without giving said human road rash, over-extended knees, shin splints, etc.

Running in the cemetery gives me a better cushion to run on while I'm training Smokey not to jerk my bod around too much or stop on a dime or take off like a bat out of hell! 

And while I'm in my morbid sanctuary I feel I'm away from prying eyes that just might get more than a few laughs at my expense during these training sessions. I'm not overly affected by what I think others think of me, and yet having my body hurt, landing on the road or losing control of the dog is something I DON'T want to share with the general public!

This week found me at my church's graveyard 3 different times, trying in earnest to get some decent pictures of Montie's newly "installed" marker. 

We commissioned David Gillespie to hand-carve Montie's stone. The attention to detail is dramatic. If you decide to check out his website, you'll see Montie's stone featured on the front page as well.

The gateway to the cemetery...

Our church Donegal Presbyterian 

The grounds as reached by going around to the right...

The reflecting pond...

I walked all around the grounds this past week ~ and yet we still couldn't bring ourselves to attend Sunday services. 

It's complicated. It's sad to be there still. The sadness can still be overwhelming... 

... and all the while our caring friends watch... and yet, it's uncomfortable. It's an anxiety-filled time when we go to services. If we attend upstairs & early, I see the casket on funeral day, see Marshall in the  podium honoring his son with words I cannot believe he's able to deliver so eloquently. And if we attend downstairs later, I see us standing in black next to the casket, hugging so many who came to show support, seeing the video of pictures of happier times rolling over and over, and I see the kids laughing & realizing surreally that "life goes on" amidst my heart breaking.

The carver, David, helped Marshall dig the area & install the stone during our freakish snowstorm on October 29. It seemed wrong to have Marshall digging there, for him to have to install it, and yet he seemed to fulfill a sense of duty doing so. 

In some ways it's a relief to have it finally done, after the many emails, discussions about pictures & wording; and yet there's a finality in it being there. There's nothing left to do FOR Montie ~not that I think he really cares about a slab of stone where he is! 

I know his body is there... and I still can't believe my son is buried, but I never feel him there. Ever... and so I've been to the newly installed marker more this week than I've visited the site in the better part of a year. And I don't really want to go back...


  1. What a moving post and tribute to your son. That is such a beautiful stone that you had made for Montie. And I really like your idea of embracing the cemetery and finding comfort rather than fear. The cemetery by our home is beautiful. The grounds are gorgeous and I'd love to walk around one day and just reflect. I bet those stones would have so many interesting stories.

  2. I’m so glad I visited your blog today though I was unable to keep tears at bay. I too find peace at cemeteries. I’ve actually taken pictures and have a beautiful one of a bunny eating grass in front of a gravestone. I love reading the inscriptions on the stones. I was recently told the victim of my first homicide case now has a wonderful tombstone but I’ve delayed in seeing it because I too feel it is a finalization. I am working today and I’m going to take a trip to his grave.

    This brings me to Montie and your tribute to him. I saw such love and feeling in his headstone. David has incredible talent, but I believe his true talent lies in hearing your heartfelt pain and unending love of Montie. Thank you for sharing your monument to his life.

    I wish you joy and love during the holidays. Your family is in my prayers.