Sunday, October 25, 2015

Visiting the Cemetery

Some may call my visits to the cemetery excessive. I go on my daughter’s death day, her birthday, my birthday and the holiday season. I also go before an extensive trip, so five times a year.

I go not only to feel close to her but also to make sure I clean her gravestone, which gets full of calcium from the watering and dirt from the rain and mowing. I feel it is important to do that and want it to look nice for anyone else who may come. 
Some may think I overdo it, that it is morbid to go so often, and that I am obsessing. I have a great need to go, to sit quietly, to talk to my daughter and to think about happier times. There is something very peaceful about a quiet cemetery where the only sound is an occasional train passing by very slowly, like they, too, are paying their respects.

Each time I go, I look at a broken gravestone in the row behind my daughter and shake my head. It has been broken for over 15 years. Doesn’t anyone come to visit, and can’t they see how bad the stone looks, broken in half? No attempt has ever been made to fix it. Perhaps the relatives live far away and never come…or perhaps there are no relatives. It makes me sad to see this and more determined than ever to keep watch over my daughter’s grave and hope that never happens to hers.

There are no rules about visiting the cemetery. I believe each person needs to do what is best for them, whether it is visiting every day, every few months or never going back after the funeral is over. Unless one knows the pain of losing the most important person in your life, it is impossible to understand that need.

I go to the cemetery with my husband (not my daughter’s father) but a compassionate, loving individual, who understands its importance to me. I don’t tell anyone else where I’m going or where I’ve been. I know some people get uncomfortable talking about death and visitations, so we go alone.

How often one goes to the cemetery has absolutely nothing to do with the length and depth of your expression of grief. Everyone must do what makes them comfortable, not what pleases others. In this instance, the bereave’s needs come first and one must do what makes one feel better.

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