|Grave Yard Picnic|
This year Memorial Day is bringing me a sense of restlessness and mixed emotions. Last year it was all about making sure Don's tombstone was set in place and how disappointed I was with the unseeded ground around the marble. Sand filled up the etched letters and there was no hope for keeping the stone clean with the way the sod was left high on one side. A week ago I stopped by the cemetery and found those issues are no longer a problem. So now what? The cemetery has a lot of restrictions on what you can and can’t put on graves but people break the rules all the time, and then they fight with the sexton when he removes their decorative flags, solar lights and wind chimes that fall over and get tangled up in their mowing machines. When I was checking the place last week I ran into another widow whose husband’s grave is near Don’s and she was trying to rally up support to get the sexton fired. She lives within walking distance, checks on the cemetery often and says she's been raising cane since her husband was buried six years go. I don’t want to be that kind of widow. To me, it’s easier to learn the rules and follow them.
I worked in the floral industry for twenty years and made my fair share of Memorial Day flowers over the years. I had planned to make something for Don’s grave until I broke my elbow and acquired an arm sling. As a Plan B I stopped by a place that sells cemetery flowers but their arrangements weren’t weighed and would blow away with the first strong wind, so I left without buying anything. The evil side of me thinks it would be fun to fill up the etched letters on Don’s tombstone with birdseed so that when the militant widow mentioned above sees birds all over my husband’s grave she’d call the city offices to demand the sexton buy a shot gun. Did I mention she’s also a militant, foaming-at-the-mouth NRA member as well? I know she’d call me in horror if Don’s grave became a Mecca for birds. She called me when the Snoopy I'd glued to the stone disappeared. But I’d act overjoyed about the birds and tell her, “Holy moly, Don’s spirit is communicating with the gods, using the birds to carry his message to the sky!” Okay, I wouldn’t really tell her that but I would put seeds on his Don’s grave just to watch her go off like a rocket on the Fourth of July. Hey, I think I just hatched Plan C.
Aside from what to do about the cemetery what is bothering me the most about this second Memorial Day without Don is how lonely it’s making me feel. I hear the plans that family and friends have for the long weekend and while I’m genuinely happy for them, I’m a bit envious as well. In the past I’d always had plans to look forward to over the holiday. I can't remember ever not having some where to go over Memorial Day, not even as a kid. Poor me, I can’t even satisfactorily pig out on comfort foods because with my broken elbow bone and sprained wrist on my dominate arm it’s a struggle to shovel food in my mouth. To make it worse I’m sitting here watching a doomsday movie---nothing like making a misery pie for your self when you should be closing the kitchen and going for a walk in the sunshine. I mean who wouldn’t feel miserable at the thought the world is coming to an end and I don’t have a survivalist’s cache of supplies hidden in a backyard bunker? I’ll bet the militant widow with the NRA patches on her jacket has a well stocked bunker. Woo is me. I can’t wait until Memorial Day, year two is past history!
But I must say I’m starting to understand why recent widows feel the pull to go to the cemetery on Memorial Day; we don’t have any where else to go and if we’re lucky we’ll get to meet the families of our spouse’s neighbors. Yup, my husband is across the road, four stones in. Where is yours? I brought a peanut butter sandwich. Would you like half? Maybe if I make friends at the cemetery this year next year we could plan a potluck on the grounds like the Civil War widows did. Everything comes full circle if you wait long enough. ©