Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Cemetery

I stopped by the cemetery that we are considering moving Chase to today.  My friend's son is buried there and I wanted to visit his grave.  She lost her son just after his birthday in 2007.  He died the 13th of April and Chase was born the 14th of April.  I feel a connection there, not only because I knew her son, but also because of the dates being so close to Chase's death and birth date.  Her son's birthday is just 6 days before his death date, 23 years later.  Chase died just 4 days after his birthday.  She has reached out to me and provided comfort to me like only mothers who have lost children can.  For that I am grateful.

I saw a grave of an infant, died in 2007.  It tears me up to see graves like that with all sorts of little toy trucks and airplanes and helicopters so curiously laid upon it.  I wish I could visit Chase's grave and share toys with him in this way, too.  Reese has a handful that he has saved just for his little brother.  I long to visit the gravesite of my son, to see his name in stone, to see our names right with his, as close as we can get in this human life of ours.  I looked around the cemetery and felt it would be a nice place to keep his "box", as we call it.  When I asked the kids the other day if they thought it was a good idea to move Chase to this cemetery, they said yes.  Actually Reese said, "no mom I want him at my house! Please?  Can we have him at our house?"  I explained the purpose of this cemetery and I think they all understood.  The fact that we may or may not be living in Ruidoso makes our decision to disinter him more complicated.  But, again, I looked around the cemetery and it felt "right".  Twelve years ago, Patric and I were married about 15 minutes down the highway.  Three of our children were born here.  Whether or not we live here in 5 years doesn't mean we won't ever be back.  We have several reasons to come back here, several concrete reasons, and one of them is his grandparents.  I would have the comforting feeling that his grandparents will always be here.  They will never move so they will always be close, and I know his G would love that.  These thoughts make this decision a little bit easier.  If that is ever possible.

I'm writing these thoughts down because I want it be known that when your child dies, cemeteries and grave sites are not something that you had ever thought about before.  Choosing a place to keep your child for the rest of time as you know it, is really an impossible choice.  There is no way of knowing the right answer.  Because, as our funeral home director pointed out to us, where we bury him, is where we will want to be buried essentially, so we may as well purchase 3 lots instead of 1.  See?  Things you never thought about, right?  Who would have known that when you give birth, days later you will be deciding where you want to be buried when you eventually die 50 years later.  Cremation was, for us, not something for considering on the spot but choosing which cemetery seemed preposterous to decide.  

The first year I was only consumed with having his grave stone ordered and in hand.  Then when it came time to lay the stone, we felt the permanence of this deed and wanted to do something about the fact that we wanted Chase closer to us.  Once we decided to do this and talked to the funeral director to find out if it can even be done, only to learn that there is even a word for it, then we had to pick where.  The cemetery I visited today was our pick, until we started to consider the facts--that our family would not forever reside in Ruidoso.  We weren't convinced that we would be raising our family here and did not want to move Chase again when we decided we were leaving.  And so here we are.  His stone sits in the garage at the funeral home across the street.  And his "box" is still 6 hours away.

So these are my thoughts today.  I hope to close this chapter soon, though I won't ever know when that will be until it actually happens.  I would rather think of my son as I saw him in the hospital isolette and those days when he fought for his life.  I would rather remember him as best I can than think of the cemetery where his box will forever remain.  But this is life as best as we can understand.  I was searching on old (really old) computer CDs the other day and found this saying that gave me chills.  I have no idea why it was on my computer years ago.  Here it is....
It is a deep mystery, This matter of Life and Death.
That the same person who brought us a thousand joys, can one day leave us shedding a thousand tears.
So suddenly, sometimes we grope blindly for words left unspoken, and for the hug we needed to give, to say goodbye.
And we wonder, how this thread holds us all to life can be so thin and fragile.. 
Until one day we find the faith and courage to accept, that the living aren’t meant to understand death, only to accept and celebrate life, and to remember that the only real death is forgetting.


  1. I totally understand the "permanence" that you are talking about. That really hit me hard. My babes are only about a 20 min drive from my house and that doesn't feel close enough. I am obsessed with wanting to move closer to them. Finding the right spot to keep Chase's box is important and I hope that you find that right place. I am sure that you will know what to do when the right option is in front of you. Thinking of you, as always! xo

  2. This is such a hard decision, I know. You want them with you, even though you know that isn't really them. Praying something becomes very clear as you wait and decide...

  3. It isn't an easy decision at all. When we bought Carleigh's plot we also bought ours. It seems really weird that we are so young but already have our burial plots. I do think you know when it's the right spot. When I first visited the cemetery where Carleigh is now I knew it was the right one. It was small and in the country and it was peaceful.