Trying To Understand What Can Not Be Explained
Journal Entry June 10, 2013
Before we headed to Hilton Head after Grace’s funeral, Eric and I decided we and our children would go to Grace’s graveside. I didn’t want the graveside to become a taboo place or for it to become something placed on a pedestal that would interfere with our sight of our Father and His healing power and comfort. We gathered around her place and looked at all the beautiful flowers. We each took a rose from the arrangement the kids sent, grabbed the two pandas sitting amongst them and headed on. The baby panda sat on the dashboard the whole time we were gone. The larger panda was passed around throughout the vehicle. I kept the five roses in a vase on the kitchen table until we left. Then I gathered the petals and brought them home. She wasn’t with us on that first trip, and it was hard, but her presence was felt with every rub to the tiny dashboard panda or with every squeeze of the bigger panda or the sight or sniff of the roses.
Since then, Eric and I visit Grace’s grave site every week, sometimes several times a week. We both comment that we don’t know why we go, she is not there. Not the part that truly matters. Her body is there, just six feet below our feet. There is no way to convey the bizarre and surreal feeling of your child’s physical body to be so close and yet her be so very far away. I told him I thought it was more the thought of, “Grace, baby, you may be gone but you are not forgotten. We love you still and we make time in our day to remember you!” It has become a special time for Eric and I to sit together in peace and re-affirm our love and commitment together. I usually end up in his arms weeping while he holds me close. I wipe his tears away as he in turn wipe mine.
“In sickness and health, through life or death.” Of course I added that last part. When I was taking my marriage vows of course I couldn’t see down the road to the death of a child, our first-born child. These are the roads you discover and navigate together. The commitment to the vows we made almost 23 years ago, now encompass more than just me and Eric. The vows have stretched themselves out to cover over our precious family. Our children were born underneath those vows. “In sickness and in health, for richer or poorer till death do us part” has become a strong yet tender, impenetrable yet flexible, fierce yet comforting tent we live under together, as a family.