I walk amongst the stones in the cemetery, gazing at the names and dates. I love the graveyard; I find peace there among the dead. It's full of history and I wished every tombstone came with an autobiography. I even feel love here.
The fall air is brisk and clean. Rippling around me, the light breeze tosses my hair back. I pull my coat a little tighter. My imagination is free and running wild. What are these people's stories? How did they die? How did they live? I wonder, did their dreams come true? Did they die only after living a full life? Were their days cut short, sudden? I wish I could talk to them; I'd ask their advice on what they would do different. I'd ask if they ever found the answer to the meaning of life.
I walk past a simple headstone reading "Sally...our beloved. Born August 13th 1942, death August 16th 1942." Sadness enveloped me momentarily. I can only imagine the overwhelming grief of the parents. Did the crib claim this precious gift? I think about all the things that could have. If only she'd been born this decade, her life may have been spared.
As I continue my leisured stroll, I come upon two twin headstones mere feet apart. "George William Lee-born December 5th, 1975-died October 31st, 2009" was engraved into the first. And in the second, "Deborah Jean Lee-born June 15th, 1976-died October 31st, 2009." Was this a Romeo and Juliet tragedy? A murder-suicide? It could have been a tragic accident claiming both their lives. Were they together still wherever their souls landed? I imagined them hand in hand through life, death, and in their afterlife.
As the sun began to set, I'd realized I'd been walking, reading, thinking for hours. It was time for me to go and I knew there was one more stone I needed to visit. This stone's history I knew. No matter how often I visited, It always took me a long time to work up the strength to make my way over. Finally, I lifted my feet one by one in that direction. As I lifted my eyes toward the stone, I caught a glimpse of his transparent silhouette sitting there. My breath caught. His eyes met mine, his face smiled, his hands held my favorite white rose. I knew my imagination had been in overdrive for a few hours, so instinctively I blinked. When my eyes opened, he was gone.
For just a second, I could have sworn he had been there. Memories flooded my eyes. He brought me a white rose on our first date, and I instantly fell in love with his smile. A year later, we had white roses at our wedding, and a year later, we had white roses at his funeral. I will never forget the night of our anniversary and the sound as he turned the car that fateful night to receive the impact of the oncoming devastation. He saved my life in more ways than one, and now his was gone.
So, this is the place I visit him everyday. I take a deep breath and walk towards the headstone. I try to be strong for him; I've accepted his choice even though I miss him more with every passing minute. I feel his presence more today than usual, but it must be my heart playing tricks on me. I make it to his resting place. And I see it. There, where he was sitting moments ago in my imagination, lay a single white rose...
** this is a Magpie Tale (# 38 to be exact) and it is hosted by the marvelous, Willow. Visit here to read some terrific posts and to post one yourself. It is a great place for writers of all walks to hang out and/or post something of their own.