Saturday, November 06, 2010

On Thursday, as I was trying to make my way home on Loop 12 in one of our interminable traffic jams, almost without thinking I made an exit and ended up at the Dallas National Cemetary.

Not too surprising, as many of you know, I tend to visit cemetaries quite a bit... But this one is a bit different. This is where my parents are. I haven't been here since my parents were intered in the Combarium. I don't exactly know why I've avoided visiting, or why I suddenly visited that day, but ultimately I'm glad I did.

The National Cemetary is a beautiful place.

As I pulled up to the Columbarium... I wondered if this was a mistake. It had a been a good day, beautiful autumn weather after the last two days of bone chilling rain. Was I putting a jinx on my good day? Was I self sabotaging the small amount of contentment I'd been able to find?
I know some people find comfort in sitting beside the graves of loved ones. For some, it's an essential part of the grief and healing process. They sit and meditate, and have long internal conversations with those who've gone on before...

I wasn't sure how I'd react.
I stood by the niche where my sister and I had personally hand placed the ashes of our parents, and we had both watched as the man screwed on the marble slab, and I can't say that I felt anything remarkable.
My parents aren't there.
They've gone on to wherever they've gone, and all I was doing was standing in an extremely well manicured and maintained park in the waning sunlight of a brisk November day.
And I was fine.
I picked up a couple of pieces of litter and placed them in a trash can.
Someone had placed flowers in a plastic vase at the base of the columbarium. The flowers had tipped over and I righted them.
There was a little potted succulent at the base of another row ono the columbarium... Knowing that the Caretakers remove all plants and flowers every two weeks, I considered taking the poor doomed thing home with me, but instead I gathered the fallen leaves to take home to root as cuttings, and left the plant to it's fate.

It is a quiet serene place in our modern screaming world. As you stand there, knowing that, as the crow flies, it's less than a mile to a rather maddening road, you can look over the military stones and not hear a sound.
The cemetary is randomly divided by gullies that would be difficult, if not impossible, to clear and mow, and large areas of untouched woods. These are kept as a nature presserve, and signs tell me that these areas shelter many native species.
I like the idea that at night, when the gates are closed, deer graze among the stones that mark our fallen heros, Coyotes slink in the moonlight... and maybe, on some night, a bobcat will stretch out and lay on the sun-warmed cement walk in front of my parents marker.

Mom and Dad would both like that.
I will go back, when I need a fix of quiet and contentment.
Right now I work. I go to church. I go out and have lunch with my friends, and over the next few years I expect to have some fun, and have some hard times.
Sometimes, I will do the right thing, and sometimes I will make bad decisions.
I'll probably break my heart.
But, most importantly, I'll survive.

(note: still no camera... these are cell phone pics.... not bad for a phone pic, huh?)


  1. My dad's in a similar place in Missouri, and my mom told me the other day that a tall, new fence was going up all around it. She wasn't sure if it's supposed to keep vandals out or what. I like the idea of the deer and other critters wandering around at night. It's a shame they'll be shut out. Claude, you're a tender heart, and you will be okay. I'm sure of it. The pics with the cell phone are wonderful, by the way.

  2. thing your visit did was turn you into a writer!!! This is so moving, ,i wish you could write like this all the time! I bet your parents would love the visiting animals! You just keep blogging with all of us out here, and you will be fine...but forget about the breaking your heart bit, ok??? you seriously don't need that!!! :) see ya around!

  3. its a nice place to rest Claude.... I do this sometimes, visitig graves of loved ones when I am lost or down.....but mine is near a rifle range and we hear gunshots often.