Since the day we buried her, I have felt at home in the cemetery.
Before, it was a place of discomfort and obligation. I went of course, as needed. But I definitely wouldn’t stay longer than required and I’d never dream of being there after dark. Or before dawn. Or just because. Or any of the 687,432 reasons I go now.
That was before. But here in the after, the cemetery is one of my very favorite places. And since the day we buried her, I have spent my time there sitting in the grass directly in front of her headstone. It’s my spot. There’s a bench I frequent and a tree I like, but really – my place is with her.
I stand, I kneel, I sit. I’ve even laid in that spot. I’ve seen two years of seasons from that place. The grueling summer heat, the hope of change with fall, the silence of the winter, and the birth of spring. I’m nearing full circle again as spring gives way to summer and again, I notice change.
Our cemetery has a section designated for babies, and they are buried in rows. Jocelyn was the second baby on her row. So for the last two years, I have watched baby after baby, family after family – add to our little cemetery home. It’s always been something that I reflect upon while there. I look at the flowers and the pinwheels. I look at the fresh dirt and the new headstones. I read them and I pray for them and think about those parents.
But on this particular day, I had a moment a little less gracious and a little more… well, like me.
As I approached the cemetery I noticed a new burial. I always notice. But this time it struck me that the new baby was buried on a new row. And then it hit me. The next new baby, will be buried in my spot. My chest got heavy and my breathing shallow. I felt the panic rising in my throat. My spot. Our spot.
In that moment, all I could feel was fear. Fear that I’d have to alter my cemetery routine. Fear that the days of leisurely lounging at her grave, may be numbered. But more so, fear that life was moving on. Fear over the fact that enough time has passed for this to even be happening. Fear of change. I left in a panic.
But I went again yesterday. And I sat in my spot. Right next to the newest baby. And something about being physically so close to a burial so fresh – spun me back into reality. That spot, that I so instinctively protected – it’s going to hold someone’s child. Just like my child is buried in someone’s spot. And while my first instinct was to proclaim a juvenile “Mine!” over my spot, the truth is that spot will come to mean a lot more to whomever inherits it. And the mother that sits in front of that headstone and weeps, she earns it. And when ground is broken and a child is buried in “my spot”, my hope is that she is granted the grace to stand, kneel, sit, or lay for a very long time.
Maybe she’ll even get two years.