Thursday, May 4, 2017

Take a Baby Step: My Brother's Grave

Lakewood Cemetery

The three-year anniversary of my brother, Chris's, death is coming up on Mother's Day and it's bringing up some stuff for me. The thing is, after he died, life took so many twists and turns (not related to his death, actually) that I was too busy and too preoccupied to really grieve.

Even though I thought about Chris often, and he showed up in my dreams a lot, I could mostly lose myself in my daily routine because of life's complicated content.

I think that it was, in a way, the Universe was giving me some time so I wouldn't fall apart completely, even though I did have my moments of intense sadness.

Now, after almost three years, I have a calm acceptance of his death, even though I miss Chris terribly. 

I had never been back to the cemetery since he was buried . . . until yesterday.

I had a day off, so I dropped off my kids at school and drove into the city to my fabulous friend, Edward, who does my hair at Sudz Salon in Uptown--except I was an hour early.

Since Lakewood Cemetery is just a mile away, I just drove there. No big drama, no flowers, no big plan--I hadn't even seen the gravestone because it wasn't placed down until way after his burial.

I simply drove in, not really knowing my way around, even though it felt strangely familiar. Being a pseudo hippy, I thought if I just followed my energy I would find him sooner or later. So I just drove on the windy pathways in the beautiful morning sun. It was actually quite breathtaking.

Many workers tended to the gardens and the grave sites, pruning trees and watering flowerpots--and the profound nature of their daily work struck me to the core. It reminded me of a holy dance ritual.

I remembered that my brother was buried across from a pond (the one in the picture above), and if you stood at the gravesite and looked to the pond, he was between two pine trees. But I couldn't find the pond . . . it's really a huge place.

As I drove with my windows down listening to my radio, my favorite song came on, The Weekend's "I Feel it Coming" (I know, it's pop music, and I'm an old person, but I DO teach 8th grade and listen to KDWB). Anyway, in the middle of the song right at the chorus, I saw water, and I kept down the path and eventually came to the small pond where Chris was buried. 

I thought it would be easy to find the gravestone--I just looked for the two pine trees and then got out of my car and searched on foot. I looped around the lake twice, but never found the stone. I knew I was close, but I was running out of time before my appointment. 

I decided to leave and make my way back to the entrance; I knew it could take awhile because I didn't know my way around very well, but I made my way out within minutes.

Even though I didn't find Chris, I left with an incredible feeling of peace, knowing that I could return and it would be okay. For some reason, I had been terrified of going to the cemetery . . . but I had taken a small step in the direction of healing by even driving there and finding the pond.

I know I wasn't supposed to find the gravesite yesterday, that is for another time. And I know the Universe has my back, just like after Chris died when I had to attend to things other than my grief. But I am closer to ready now, and grateful for it.

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