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Monday, July 25, 2011

The Cemetery

So after the move I began a new route to work. The shortest way to get there is the back roads through the suburb connecting to the city I work in. It is a windy and beautiful road. It is a road that Matt and I used to live just blocks off of for a big chunk of our relationship. It is a road we biked on, took Evelyn to parks on, and it also happens to be the same road his cemetery now lies on.

The first few times I drove past it I would slow way down, stare into the field, and feel a tug to stop. Often, I was too busy. Late to work, late to pick up the kids, or late to whatever I was suppose to be doing (prior to Matt's death I can't remember a time I was ever late). It was a couple weeks ago that I had sort of planned it out to make time to stop. This wasn't the first time I had been to his grave, it wasn't even the first time I had been alone. It was just like any other visit really, but it wasn't somehow.

On this visit a couple weeks ago, which coincided with this sinking depression that has overtaken me recently, I decided to sit down and talk to Matt. I had an old quilt I'd made in the back of his SUV, the one that I now drive. I laid it out next to his unmarked grave. His plot is next to a baby girl, if I'm right a three year old; her marker engraved with a teddy bear is simply heartbreaking. He is laid next to a crooked old tree of some sort, if I had to guess I would say an apple tree, but I'd probably be wrong. And it sits only about 20 feet from a house of someone whose yard backs up to this particular cemetery.

On this day I laid out a blanket, took off my shoes, and plopped down. I started and ended my time with Matt in prayer - asking the Spirit to be ever present in my words, to cover me completely. And then . . . I let it all out. I told Matt about how I was troubled. About how my anxiety has resurfaced in full force. About how I struggle with finding the correct balance between discipline and love in the midst of tragedy. I told him how hard taking care of a home by myself is, and how much it hurts that I can't keep a house the way I could when he was around to help. I told him about all the things I break, and the things I don't take care of the way he would want me to. I told him about how much Isaac is growing, and about what a little story teller Evie has become. I told him about his mother's new home, and how his littlest brother is now 16. I told him about our new pastor and his family, how much he would have loved them, and the excitement surrounding their move. I told him how overwhelmed I felt at times. How I feel I can't keep up with daily tasks, let alone commitments I've made. I told him how there are things I'm longing to do, feeling called to do, and yet the lies that 'I'm not good enough' continue to sneak in. I told him everything.

And you know what? There was no response. No revelation in that moment, or reassurance from beyond the grave. And truly I see that as fitting, since before Matt died I would have never gotten him to listen to me that long. He wasn't capable [or more likely didn't give much effort] into listening to my heart very often. It was something he was becoming more aware of, and would have probably grown better at with time, but still something that pained me. There was no response on that day, but when I rose up and left, there was relief. Relief of being honest, of just breathing into existence all the things weighing on my heart.

Since that day I've made it to his resting place a lot. My quilt, and his dirt. With just my thoughts, tears, and bare feet. And although a cemetery seems an unfitting place for a 31 year old to find comfort, it also seems unfitting to be the home of a 33 year old husband and father.


Xaris said...

You are not only an excellent writer, you express notions that easily resonate with real life - on topics most folks would have difficulty expressing. You say for us what we wish we could say, even for many of us who haven't experienced loss in the exact way that you have. Thank you again.

Mary Mosbey said...

Stephanie -- I think of you often and pray that one day you will again find the joy in life that you deserve. Consider yourself hugged from this grandma from Lindstrom.

Sandy said...

Oh Steph - I can only imagine your stuggle with juggling, kids, job, a home and your grief. I know people say this all the time and at first I thought they were nuts.....but, it really does get easier with time. The pain and the grief does not go away, but you do learn to live with it better. Hang in there my friend.

Anonymous said...

Oh Steph I can't even imagine what that would be like I am crying right now after reading this you are such a brilliant writer I'm so sorry that you are going through this I wish that I could be there for you every day I love you and Think and pray for you alot Love you lots Joy

Anonymous said...

Steph - You are amazing. Gifted, talented, loving, funny, smart, giving, full of God! You are in my prayers. I truely do love you and those kiddos.

LORMO said...

I have always loved cemeteries. They are very peaceful. I don't think it's unfitting at all to find comfort there.

Michelle said...


Again, we have never met, but I truly feel as though I hear you when I read your words. I have given your words a voice, and it is a lovely one, filled with a hint of "hope" and oodles of strength.

It takes quite a bit to bring tears to my eyes...but with each blog I read, additional tears stream down. Your ability to capture your thoughts and handle them with such's a gift.

In the midst of tears I found myself smiling. The truth you have in your memories of Matty is comforting. Your ability to accept him, to accept you (or accepting you need to begin that journey), and to accept all things will take you down an endless path of possibility.

You are in our daily prayers. We pray you find strength, happiness, hope and love.