Thursday, June 19, 2014

Part 1: The cemetery at dusk

It was a cold, bitter day in November as the sunset on the cemetery, much colder than Southern California is used to. Various graves were decorated for Thanksgiving as family members came to remember their loved ones during the season of thanks. The brisk cold turned into a bitter wind as the sun set turning day into night. People didn’t stay around too long as the quickly changing weather made them hurry to find warmer surroundings.
But one lone woman stayed. She knelt on the ground in front of a newly placed headstone. Her eyes downcast closed almost as in prayer. He lips moving ever so slightly, the breeze carrying her words away. She was slender and young, too young to be in a cemetery. Her beautiful blonde hair fell forward in a cascade of gold, protecting her face from the bitter cold. She wore no jacket but she acted as if she couldn’t feel the falling temperatures. She kept her head bowed and leaned closer to the ground. You could have thought she was trying to lay down.
The funeral director was closing the office for the night. He locked the office door and as he turned to walk to his car, he saw her. With sympathetic eyes, he sighed. The young woman had come here every day for the past couple weeks. He changed course and walked over to her. Despite his nice suit, he knelt beside her in the grass and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. “You know they wouldn’t want you here moping.”
The young woman looked up, her eyes glistening with tears and sighed, “I know. I don’t know what to do next.” She turned back to the headstone.
The director put a gentle arm around her, helped her to her feet and guided her to her nearby car. With gentle words, he reassured her that the answers were inside her. He knew all the comforting words. He had been in this business for many years and he saw all sorts of grief. But this young woman’s pain cut deep into his heart. He felt that his words were hallow and knew, at the moment, his words failed him.
“I wish I had more to help you, miss. But unfortunately, only time will give you the answers you seek,” he said as he opened her car door.
She nodded and closed the door. She watched the man walk to his car. She knew he was only trying to help. The words which were meant as comfort were hallow. Hallow as her heart. She knew that she would never be whole again. She already lost so much. How can she go on when what mattered most was gone.
She left the main gate and turned toward home. “Good night, sweet ones. Sleep tight. I’ll be back soon.” She whispered as she passed the cemetery. She let her brain go into autopilot as her memory drifted to that fateful day one month ago.