I wrote not long ago about finally getting around to making arrangements for Paul’s headstone. At the time, I was maybe a little sad because of the three options I was looking at, I was certain that my first choice would be well out of my price range because it’s so very different from a “typical” headstone in the region. With that knowledge, I began to think of the words that would go on the second and third choice stones, both of which would have given me more space than the first choice.
Note: This post was originally shared on my “widowhood” blog, “Frances 3.0: Still in Beta”.
A few weeks ago, I was given estimates for the options and was so pleased to learn that my first choice is not only affordable but less than what I thought I’d spend on my least favourite choice. It was easy to decide which style to go with once I had all of the information, and I was so pleased to know that I would be able to have what I really, really wanted without it impacting my finances. (Because, if I’m honest, I may have been tempted to buy it with credit despite the costs.)
But, it’s all been on hold because I can’t seem to find the right words now. When I thought I’d have more space it was easy because there was a line from a song that would have been perfect. But now I’m faced with the perfect headstone, which comes with extremely limited space for words of remembrance. Now I’m faced with the question of how you sum up the love you have for someone in one, concise line; but something that is fitting for both of us because, one day, it will be my headstone, too.
I’ve gone back-and-forth over something that would make me giggle – but that no one other than the two of us would ever get; something poignant and sappy – that we’d both cringe over if we heard uttered by someone else; or something biblical – but not something overused.
I went through old letters and emails. I re-read our wedding speeches. I scanned through the lyrics of the mixed CD Paul made for me when we were dating. I read the lyrics from the songs played and the words from the Scriptures read at our wedding. And I began to make a list of things that would work. Many of which were crossed out before I finished the line.
I’m down to four contenders now. And I wish I knew how to choose. I wonder if I’m allowed to combine a line from the bible with a funny thing we always said to each other. I wonder if I can squeeze two lines in where there is really only space for one. I wonder if I can increase the size of the base so that I can have the song lyrics that would have worked on one of the other two options. I wonder if I need to say anything at all and if just our names will suffice. I wonder so many things… but mostly, I wonder how I’m meant to know what the best words are when Paul isn’t here to cringe if I pick the wrong ones.
I never knew it could be so difficult to say “I love you” to someone!