Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I visit Michael every day.  Usually around the 5:00 or 6:00 hour.  Even on the weekends.  This just seems to be my time to go to the cemetery.  I don't stay long.  Just long enough to tell him how much I miss him.  And how I would do absolutely anything to get him back.  And I mean anything.  Or talk about the day.  Recently, I have been telling him about the many photos that people have sent spelling out his name.  

The cemetery is such an odd place.  I talk about his "neighbors" - Patricia and Joseph.  How they were buried in the 1980's and don't have flowers on their markers.  I was thinking that I should get them some.  How it would bring more color to Michael's spot.  When a new person "moved in", I gave him (Ed is his name) one of Michael's pinwheels.  I believe that Ed's family returned the favor by putting an angel statue on Michael's grave (I don't know if this is true ... I just don't know who else would have left it).

For 9 weeks, Michael's spot has had a temporary marker.  With his name and dates.  And it was surrounded by Star Wars figures and a Star Wars vehicle;  some Army men;  a Spiderman;  two pinwheels, a flower vase, and a gerber daisy. And the aforementioned angel statue.  I held my breath in recent weeks.  I knew that the time frame for the arrival of his permanent marker was soon.  I dreaded that day.

Today.  Was that day.  

I drove up and knew instantly that something was different.  And instantly I had a knot in my stomach.  Michael's marker had arrived.  He became a permanent resident.  In the cemetery. Another reminder that this is not a nightmare that I will awake from.  He is, in fact, all moved in.  To this neighborhood.

I took pictures.  I will upload them when I am ready. 
Today.  Is not that day.

The marker is nice.  It lists his name and his dates.  We added a star.  Because that was Michael.  A star.  And then we were able to add a description.  This was a tough choice.  What do you add to your son's marker that will sum up all that his life was ... and all that he could have been?  In one line?  

We chose:  Love you to the moon and back.

Because it's true.  For now and for always.  It is what Michael and I have always said to one another.  We usually added  - times 1600 (Michael's favorite go-to number).  I would say it as we said good night.  When I tucked him in.

It seemed fitting.  In his final resting spot.  His final tucking in.  To say it again.
Love you to the moon and back.


Elizabeth Dark Wiley said...

Wow Jenn. I know that was hard. It took us, particularly my mom, years to get my dad's permanent marker. I remember the company would call and harass her a bit about it.
So for the first few visits, I couldn't actually find his plot. I'd just walk around the general area talking out loud, trusting that I was within his earshot.
The description you chose for his marker is wonderful. Thank you.

Mom said...

I don't ever know what to say except I love you sweetie...and I know it was hard.

Local mom said...

For those of us who don't "know" loss, ypu are doing an amazing job of teaching us, does that sound weird? I am feeling you with your words, and asking God to show me how to pray for you.

Ordinary Mom said...

I found your blog through a friend of mines blog. I have been reading for awhile now but have never commented...I'm never sure what to really say. Thank you for sharing your story. I have a son who is 8 years old and I can't imagine life without him. I can't imagine what you must be going through. We are praying for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I have never met you, although I did send you a Michael signature for your album.

Your words are heartwrenching and beautiful at the same time. Does that make sense? The way you put your grief and everyday feelings into words so signifies what a sensitive and talented writer (well, I should say human being) you are. I know future plans are not even an option at the moment. But when the time is right, I truly urge you to consider writing a book, maybe about Michael, maybe about grief, maybe in your humorous way, just a portrait of a young boy growing up. You have a gift. You truly do. I laugh and cry with you as you write and I thank you for writing and sharing. And that is why I am constantly captivated by your blog. I would definitely read your book.

Simple Simon said...

I whole-heartedly agree with the previous comment by "anonymous." You are a fantastic writer with a great voice. PLEASE consider writing a book, an essay, a poem...anything! You have a gift.

Wendy said...

Well, I decided to not be anonymous (at least if this website allows me a name and whatnot at the end)But I am the one who suggested you write a book earlier.

And I thought I would clarify, at least, about how your words move me and what I meant. I think I should have taken out the word "or" - at least the unwritten "or". When I suggested you write about Michael, OR your grief, OR just writing about a young boy growing up, I meant you should write about all of those things with your little dash of humor on the side. I don't think you would be able to separate one from the other anyway.

I also wanted to let you know that I have not known grief. I have never experienced sorrow with the death of loved one.

I have no children. We are contemplating a family but still newly married.

So I am coming from a place where I cannot possibly fathom what you are going through and yet your words move me so tremendously. I am cleaning out our closets, (looking at old Christmas decorations - like your Advent Calendar) and feeling as though I need to change things, grasp things, hold onto things, and love the experiences I have with my husband and family, because you never know about the future.

In that way, your words and your story have moved me. Your "riding it out" post shook me to my very core.

We have never met, had coffee, lunch, or dinner, and I never knew Michael. But the way you express your feelings are so generous and vulnerable. I feel as though I know him through you. And someone who can do that is a true artist. Again, I thank you for your posts and sincerity.

Stacie said...

Oh, how I love your writing! And I wish that I were near you to drop off little surprise treats for your family and Michael, for you to find on one of your nightly visits to his new neighborhood.

Praying for you.

Much love,
Stacie Smith

Cindy said...

No words on this most challenging of days. Just love.
And big hugs, dear friend.

Ange said...

I love you, friend. -A

southernjoy said...

and more prayers