Friday, May 5, 2017

Coming Full Circle to Chris's Grave

Lakewood Cemetery

"Go to your fears, sit with them, stare at them.
Your fears are your friend,
their only job is to show you undeveloped parts of yourself
that you need to cultivate to live a happy life."

- Jackson Kiddard

One thing I noticed when I was at Lakewood Cemetery trying to find my brother was, well, my fear. I experience fear in my body first through a wave of tiny pin pricks that start at my face and move down to my feet--along with a kind of heat. It also feels like adrenaline.

This feeling, I realize, is only present the moments before I face whatever it is that terrifies me at the time. So, at Lakewood, I felt it moments before I drove through the gates . . . and then it went away as I drove around looking for the pond. I was just fine, and even content and happy.

And then the feeling came back right when I saw the pond that marked I was near my brother's gravesite. Of course, as I moved closer to the water and circled around, the feeling subsided again--until I actually got out of my car and started looking at the grave markers. I was terrified that I would actually find it, and in my mind I would dramatically throw myself down wailing and scratching in the dirt like a crazed woman in a bad movie.

But as I looked down at the names and the words--brother, father, mother, sister--the fact that all these souls were laid to rest at this lovely place struck me as beautiful. I felt honored to read the names and rather than feel terrified of finding Chris's tombstone, I felt a calm sense of curiosity as I meandered through the grounds.

This morning I read a blog by Madisyn Taylor called "Coming Full Circle," in which she writes:

When we come full circle there is the feeling that we have come to a familiar place
but we are somehow different.

I remembered the day of Chris's funeral, trying to recall the exact spot where he was buried, and I looked down the path to see a newly covered grave piled over with black dirt. Beautiful flowers surrounded the plot, and I was reminded of the circle of life, and the divine timing of it all. I felt honored to be in this strangely familiar spot, and quietly blessed all who rested there.

I realize that the fear place is not really the thing I fear--it is the before place, the place where I sometimes linger before I face what I think is the scary part, and of course when I linger the fear gets bigger. Truth is, once I am there at the fear place, I am okay. I can move past it. This past three years has been quite a journey, but I am coming full circle. I'm not scared anymore.

I will go back to the cemetery very soon--sooner than later. And I will go to the office and ask for a map to help me find Chris. I will bring flowers, a blanket, a good book, and a chunky glass of wine. I will toast the life of my beautiful brother, and bless his soul for traveling on this planet for 49 amazing years. 

No comments:

Post a Comment