We made our Saturday visit to the cemetery yesterday. Nothing gets you ready for a basketball game like a good trip to the cemetery. (That may actually be true!)
As we got out of the car, I saw some pink decorations right near Doria’s grave. At first, I wondered if someone stopped by to decorate, which seemed kind of neat and kind of odd. We’ve been thinking about decorations off and on, so I was curious if (or why) somebody would beat us to the punch.
Like we see so often, it turned out to be much messier than I hoped. The decorations were next to Doria’s grave, because she has neighbors now. Reading the temporary marker gave us names for two girls, and the ribbon which said “daughters” wrapped around makes me believe that there are two adorable little girls buried next to Doria right now, as of this week. We feel for some local strangers who are just now starting life without their little princesses. Some other family just joined the club. What a mess.
Of course, digging and filling the grave for those girls threw dirt all over the place. Apparently, it’s optional for the cemetery workers to clean up after themselves. It makes sense. That little fee we paid for upkeep probably didn’t actually include keeping things up. It’s better to leave a mess.
Instead of pink, our cute little grave marker was dirty but readable. So, we resolved to come back today after church with water and rags to clean off Doria’s stone. We did. Two rags are nasty messes, but the marker looks much better. You can even see the pink again. It needs another visit, but we’ll get that done pretty soon.
It’s a mess, but it’s nice. It’s something we can do. Taking care of her stone isn’t the same as taking care of her, but it’s something. (Note for parents: I’m dangerously close to commenting on Facebook when parents complain about their children and the noise/messes they make. Please stop complaining about those problems. Enjoy the fact that your kids are alive. Cleaning a stone is all we get.)
With that, my students and I head into the last week of the semester, followed by finals week. Thankfully, most of them are dealing with an entirely different mess. I’ve learned that what I’ve read is true. Working (for me, studying) after something like the death of your daughter is a mess. I lose focus, forget what I’m reading, get exhausted, and get nothing done. I remember reading a book a day with relative ease, and seeing nothing like that now. Thanks to a very understanding professor, I can finish over break. That’s a whole lot less messy than it would have been trying to suck it up and finish on schedule. It’s messy, but less messy than it could have been. I’ll remind myself of that when I’m writing on Christmas. 🙂
Christmas is special mess #3. I was really looking forward to Doria’s first Christmas. We’ve been talking about that in our apartment lately. I usually don’t have much that I want for gifts and such. I have all the stuff I need, and most of what I actually want. This year, I really only want one thing for Christmas, but she’s not coming back. That’s a real mess.
I really don’t do much with holidays in general. I tend to treat one day the same as another and just drive on with life. I don’t get real excited for holidays. They just come about. Honestly, this year, I wouldn’t mind if Christmas just disappeared off the calendar altogether. I really don’t want that mess.