WARNING: What I have written in this blog may be a little upsetting to those who find comfort at the cemetery. It is not intended to belittle the importance and comfort many find at the cemetery and with visiting Austin's gravesite (or anyone else they have loved and lost). It is simply to let many who find no comfort there know that this is ok too.
The Cemetery... to many the cemetery is a place where they find comfort after someone they love has died. It is a way many feel connected to this loved one.
To Me... the cemetery does not bring comfort. As I look at Austin's headstone and the ground in front of it (and now my father's, who is buried next to Austin) all I can see is the area of ground that was dug up to place the coffin in the ground. All I can think of is that Austin's body is in the coffin buried in the ground - in that rectangular area. This is not how I want to remember Austin.
Where do I "feel" Austin's presence? Where do I find comfort?
Lee Brice has a song, "I Drive Your Truck" which pretty much sums it up... "Momma asked me this morning, if I'd been by your grave. But that flag and stone ain't where I feel you anyway... These days when I'm missing you this much I drive your truck..." (in my case, it's Austin's car).
Yesterday I came out to a dead battery in my Pilot, so I had to take Austin's car to work. Austin was with me on my drive to work...every time I'm in that car I remember Austin. I remember going to look at the car - he loved it! I remember watching him negotiate with the seller - it brought a smile to my face. I remember him letting his younger brothers help him change the brakes - I can still hear the clanking in the garage. I remember Austin and me driving the car the next day, as we went to lunch, and hearing a "clunk" - one of the brakes wasn't screwed on completely (oops!). I remember holding my breath that we'd get home before the brake fell off (we did!).
This is where I "feel" Austin's presence. He's all around - everywhere I look I "see" and think of Austin. I think of the life he lived. I think of the love he shared.
Sometimes I feel as though I "should" go to his gravesite - because that's what others do. That's what brings them comfort. And that is what they should do - because that is what is healing to them. But for anyone else who is feeling a little guilty for not finding comfort there, you're not alone.
Although Austin's body is in the grave at the cemetery, his life is all around me. It is the sites, sounds, smells, and memories that keep me close to him - the way my drive to work, in Austin's car, brought me close to him yesterday. The way "hunting" for the perfect Christmas tree with Austin's brothers did last week-end. That is what brings me comfort and a smile!
On a side-note: I do chuckle, because although my father passed away two-and-a-half years ago and Austin was almost five-and-a -half years ago, the grass at my dad's grave is greener than Austin's. (My Dad loved gardening!)