My mother has no use for visiting the dead. She cannot understand my need to make pilgrimages. In her mind once people are dead they are either with God or not. Since they are no longer here visiting their graves makes no sense.
I cannot explain why I feel drawn to sit at the graves of the people I love. I need to know where they are buried so I can visit them. I know their spirits are no longer there, but something about the place focuses my attention and makes me feel closer to them.
I wander through the uneven rows of the cemetery. I have a bouquet of flowers clutched in my hand. Iâ€™ve never done this before; brought flowers. Normally I just come, say a few words, and then leave. This time I want to make it last.
I pull some weeds around the grave and place my flowers at the base. I hope someone comes by and tidies up occasionally because I donâ€™t know when Iâ€™ll be back this way and I wonâ€™t be here to remove the flowers once they wilt. I have to trust that someone will do it.
I spread my sweatshirt on the ground and sit. I stare at the stone and try to think of something to say, but all that runs through my head is â€œI miss youâ€. Over and over I think â€œI miss you.â€ Not the most eloquent of greetings but today itâ€™s all I have.
I pull out my journal and write. I just want to be here, to be in his presence. To feel close to him even if itâ€™s only for a little while.
I feel the clock running. I have to get the car back. If I stay too long Iâ€™m afraid sheâ€™ll ask me why I wanted to come here and I donâ€™t have any answer other than â€œI needed toâ€. But I know she wonâ€™t understand my need.
I donâ€™t want to leave but I feel like I have to. I pack up my journal and place my hand on the stone. â€œIâ€™ll be back when I can.â€ I wish I knew when that would be. I walk away and feel like I am leaving a piece of my heart behind. Iâ€™ve never felt this sad when leaving before. I canâ€™t explain it but I just donâ€™t want to go.
I drive away and try to shake off my sadness. There is so much about his loss and itâ€™s impact on me that I cannot explain (or even really make sense of).
For this moment I stop trying to make sense of it. I just give in to the need to be near him. Give in to the need for pilgrimages and flowers.