Graveyard Pitfalls

January 29, 2024

https://nicolegvb.podbean.com/e/graveyard-pitfalls/

Dear Mitch,

You died on February 26,

which means that for those of us living so close to the Canadian border, the ground was frozen. We could not bury you until spring. This is just something we have to accept here, but it doesn’t make it any easier. It was doubly difficult, as the first time you were supposed to be buried, it was too wet, so we had to postpone it for a later date. It was no one’s fault, just Mother Nature toying with us. What was so hard about this delay was that emotionally, I prepared myself for this moment, and then it was not to happen. I had to emotionally prepare myself for the second time. It ended up being a blessing, and I feel you had a hand in this because Zach was not able to make the first attempt but was able to be at the second attempt to bury you. I know you wanted Zach to be a part of this, so you made it happen.

I felt like I did at the funeral—numb!

It’s a step that needs to be done so a numbness settles over you in order to make it through the day. Mom admitted she couldn’t look at the casket because her brain just could not wrap its head around you being in the coffin rather than standing with us.

Many people said that now that you have been buried, it would help my grief because I would have a place to “visit” you. For me, it did not help because you had already been coming to visit me in our home, in all the places we loved to go together, like the park, lake, nature, at the farm…

When I go to the cemetery,

I am frustrated that it isn’t the place I would have preferred for your final resting spot. Even though volunteers keep the cemetery well maintained, it just doesn’t feel right, probably because you shouldn’t be there. There are no trees, even though I tried to get the plot closest to the spindly tree that was there. There’s no stream; it’s in nature, I guess, but not like Forestry Park. Visiting you at the cemetery brings me anguish rather than peace. I lie down on your grave and howl like an animal, envisioning your arms coming up from the ground to embrace me. Instead of leaving with peace in my heart, I feel more grief and pain. It does not console me.

I am consoled when

I feel you on the breeze at the lake, in the rustle of the trees when walking or hiking in nature, in the peacefulness of our home, and at the farm. I feel you when I am with family and friends who bring you up and start sharing the “remember whens.”

I wish burial could be like it was way back in the day, when we could have a family plot at the farm. I know exactly where I would put it. Up on the hill, in the trees, where some grain bins used to stand, this is a place that would bring me comfort in visiting your gravesite because it would be a place that would remind me of you when you were alive. That goes for my grandparents too. I understand the legalities and all the reasons why this is not done, but I think something got lost when this was not an option anymore.

Some may think

I am being neglectful of you because I have not done much at your gravesite. This is not due to not caring about you. First, I wanted to do something different than a granite gravestone. I finally figured out what that would be. It will be extra special because Matt and Lexi will be designing and making it for you. The other has already been stated in this letter. I understand I need to do something at the cemetery for others, and I will do it in my own time. I just ask for patience.

I love you, Mitch. I want to honor you the best way I can.

With all my love,

Nicole

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  1. Hi Nicole,
    Thank you for your letters. I lost my mom to the terrible disease of cancer on January 13th. Oh how I don’t want the month of January to be over because my mom was still alive for the first part of the month. I miss her so much, but I do know she is rejoicing in heaven.
    We were able to go to the cemetery after her funeral. It was such a cold winter day. I put a solar light up cross at her grave with the help of my dad a few days ago. On Saturday night I drive out to the cemetery to see the cross lit up. I couldn’t believe all of the lights that were on at the cemetery at night. Just in case you would like a cross I bought it at Turtle Mountain Floral.

    1. Mary Jo,
      Your mother was a beautiful soul here on earth. I know she is singing with the angels in heaven! I am so sorry for this heartbreaking loss for you.

      I need to go out to the cemetery at night because others have said the same thing about all the lights. I do have a light by Mitch’s plot. Maybe this would feel peaceful to me going at night with the lights. I’m “glad” you were able to have her burial right away because it is hard when it has to come later.

      Big hugs,
      Nicole

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