The Plot

Last week I took one of the final steps in the journey of Kevin’s death.  I purchased a cemetery plot.  I had attempted on numerous occasions to visit the cemetery and make this arrangement, but it never seemed to be the right time.  Finally it was and I took my daughter and we met with the cemetery director.

Like most things associated with death, there was a cost.  I could choose a plot in the new section of the cemetery, where the trees are immature and the gardens, although nice, don’t have that sense of establishment.  Alternately, I could look at the available plots in the “old” section of the cemetery, of which there were two.  The “old” section plots are considered premium and typically sell rather quickly.

I was curious as to how there could be any spots available in the old section at all, and was informed that plots periodically are sold back to the cemetery when a surviving spouse or a family member elects to be buried elsewhere.  I was fortunate that at present they had two, oftentimes there are none.

Once we saw the available plots in the old section the decision was made, it was just a formality looking at the new section.  One of the available plots was located under a huge oak tree and beside a very modest grave where the headstone remembered a young man who had died in World War II.  This man’s widow had moved far away with her children and she had just recently sold the vacant plot, her plot beside her young husband, back to the cemetery.   I bought the plot by our brave soldier.  Although a single grave, the plot can hold one casket and two urns or up to six urns.  Since it is in the old section of the cemetery we have no height restrictions for the headstone – which of course will be the next purchase.

I wish that when Kevin was alive we had been proactive in purchasing a plot.   I think he would have liked the one I chose, I know that he always preferred the old section of the cemetery.  The cost for a plot in the old versus the new section of the cemetery is about 50% more, but it never was about the money with Kevin, it was always about getting what you wanted or were happy with – the money was incidental.

Prior to visiting the cemetery I had built this event up in my mind – needlessly.  It was emotional, but not nearly as much as I had expected.  Perhaps this is because it was a functional visit, a transaction at this point. I suspect that when the time comes to inter Kevin’s remains it will be quite difficult. The headstone, which will likely be the biggest expense here, can be mounted at the gravesite whenever I am ready.

That will be the next activity in this process.  At Christmas, when all the children are home, we will discuss the wording they would like on the headstone – because this will be for them and their children, for the future generations to remember the past.  For me it will be my touchstone reminding me that my reality is forever altered but my past is set in stone.

Home is Where the Heart Is

I woke up with a headache after a poor night’s sleep.  Even taking a sleeping pill hasn’t been enough to allow me a restful night’s sleep since Kevin’s death.  There’s a lot to be done and I have very little energy to do it.  I guess it’s the sense of hopelessness and heartbreak that blend together to sap all the interest out of a day.  This has been my experience since Kev has died.  Just get through the day, maybe tomorrow will be better.  Today started off just the same as any other, feeling lousy, feeling low, put on a brave face and hopefully the day will be over quickly.

My sister-in-law arrived early in the morning and we had a cup of tea together along with a little treat she’d brought.  Kevin’s sister has had her share of loss and we talked about some of the ways she coped with it.  After she left I got a call from one of my friends about whether I needed her to come over to the house and take me to get Kevin at the funeral home.  I still hadn’t heard from the home so I decided to call – and yes, he was ready.  I called my friend back and she came over to drive me to pick up Kevin.  Before we had left another friend unexpectedly pulled in the driveway bringing me some homemade turkey pies for dinner. So it was us three that went to the funeral home to pick him up.

It was a very quick transaction to retrieve his ashes from the funeral home.  One document to sign and one certificate to accompany the urn in the event that I want to bury him – then I need to produce the certificate from the crematorium to the cemetery administration.  The kids and I had chosen a marble urn, we wanted three separate small vials for scattering as well as, believe it or not, memorial jewelry (which hold a speck or two of his ashes).  Not to everyone’s taste but death is a very personal experience for a family.  All these items were provided in a dark blue corded bag designed to discreetly conceal its contents.

It was an overwhelmingly emotional moment when I finally held his urn.  The totality of his loss, that someone as passionate and engaging as Kevin was gone, really gone, was brought home by the urn in my hands.  I am so thankful that I didn’t try to do this alone, that I had friends with me.  We came back to the house and made another cup of tea, a great source of comfort for me when I am feeling any sort of emotional strain.  And then they left and it was me and him – like it should be.

Today I brought my husband home and it just feels so right.