I visit the cemetery for the third time this morning. It’s a day with sun and wind and large clouds in blue sky.
I stop and pick up the palest of pink-white peonies. I add in a bouquet of dried purple flowers- the same kind I have on Audrey’s play kitchen table.
I take one of the heart shaped notes Audrey has scribbled on and write my own words on the other side, fold it and put it in my purse. Brief phrases and words like, “we miss you. please know. my beloved. forever.”
I am thankful for the friend who drives me while my parents watch Audrey. She tries to teach me the way there too- which highways to take and which buildings can be my landmarks. “Do you want to try driving next time we go?” she asks me.
The hill where your body lies seems prettier with the spring weather and I feel peace for the first time since you died about the choice I made. The NY skyline is clearly visible from there in the distance today. I am not as emotional as I have been. I place the peonies down facing towards me, and the purple flowers facing the other way. I talk to you and to God, and bury our little note.
Like the last time, I feel you there. I know you’re there- but just your body. Last night I tell a young widow friend whose husband was your Bible study leader back in college- that I plan to take Audrey soon- maybe for Father’s Day- but that I wouldn’t tell her you’re under the ground because she is too young to understand that concept and it might frighten her. “I’ll just tell her it’s a place we go to remember him,” I say.
“Do you think you could think of it that way also?” she asks. Not only is she a strong widow, marathon runner, and amazing woman- but she’s also getting her Masters in social work and very good at asking just the right questions.
So, instead of thinking of your body- the one I loved and knew, decaying beneath that dry and warm earth, I think of that as just the small remnant you left behind of a beautiful life and spirit that has gone on from here. It does help. For truly,