It's starting to get a bit chilling around here in the morning and evening. A few days this week the kids wore sweatshirts to school (only to tear them off at dismissal in the 80 degree temperatures).
We all feel it. The countdown is starting to the accident anniversary. Strange how our bodies remember and it translates into emotions running a bit higher and a sadness that one has a hard time shaking.
I spent time this morning talking with the memorial park where Jeanne and Mike are buried. E would like to install a bench or tree at the gravesite to make it a bit more personal. Nobody, especially E, likes the grave markers. (they are actually buried on top of each other in one plot with a marker at the head for Mike and at the foot for Jeanne). Since Mike was technically a vet (flew a reconnaissance plane in Desert Shield), the military paid for his marker. This limited what could be written and boiled down his whole life in terms of his military service. Jeanne's simply says, "Beloved Wife." I get why my dad and Mike's dad went with the "free" option, but it definitely doesn't sum up what they meant to the rest of us left behind. And let's be honest, Jeanne and Mike don't really care, but it's our feelings and what we think they would have wanted that leaves us unsettled.
Turns out we can't have a bench. It's not the right kind of plot and being a memorial park not a traditional cemetery the idea is that markers are flat on the ground to give it a "park" feel. Like anyone is there to happily stroll the grounds and have a picnic. The very kind lady on the phone explained that they limit the type of memorials because the groundskeepers kept knocking over the big headstones or benches and the memorial park had to pay to replace them. Only people with family plots can "riff" with different memorials.
E is not going to be happy. She spends the most time there and really wants to have something that reflects the fact that they were her parents. We can replace the bronze plaque on each of the marble slabs, but it will probably cost a lot of money. C and I brainstormed at lunch today that maybe we could install a bench with their names at the local regional park they loved so much. I've seen similar benches throughout the park. I'm hoping this will make E feel better.
We all still keep our grief stove piped within our own pain. Sometimes I think we haven't made any of these grand gestures for them because we try so hard to be sensitive to the girls' feelings (especially E). But I lost my sister. Mom and Dad lost their daughter. Others lost a friend, cousin, work colleague. I hope one day we all can arrive at a place where our walls built by grief are broken down and we can share this loss together while celebrating their lives. It's still a tricky thing.