I went to the cemetery to see Paul today and ended up digging away under his headstone. I hadn’t really planned on that, or I’d have taken a spoon with me!
I know that’s a strange opening line, so let me explain.
When Paul died, I inherited all of his stuff. I got the life insurance and his retirement plan; I got all of the things we acquired together and all of the stuff he acquired before we ever met.
As happens when someone dies, I sifted through everything (slowly!) and gave things away that I felt others would like and kept things that I knew I would want.
But then there were things that I knew I needed to part with but that no one else would want; things that had special meaning to Paul but would be meaningless to others.
Paul’s siblings helped me to let go of some of the stuff (old school papers) but there were a couple of things that I couldn’t just throw out – despite no one wanting ownership of them.
One of those things was a little something that Paul acquired when he was six years old. It was a silly little thing, but it meant the world to him. He told me the story behind his treasure over and over again and had it on proud (if not slightly hidden) display on our living room bookshelf.
How could I possibly throw out something that meant so much to the man I love?
Then one of his sisters suggested I bury it at the cemetery with him. That way, I would be rid of it without the guilt of throwing it away.
So today I went to the cemetery with the plans of leaving it underneath the vase that is built into the headstone’s base. Only the vase wouldn’t fit back in when I dropped it down the wee hole because the little thing was just a little bit too big.
And that meant that I had to reach down the hole and dig out a couple of inches of dirt with my bare hands – destroying my fingernails in the process. It really would have been easier if I’d had a spoon. It would have been even easier if I didn’t have to try to act non-conspicuous every time the man on the riding lawnmower made a pass by on the other side of the road!
But Paul’s little treasure is back with him now, so I am happy.
(I’m a little less happy that the seashell I left for him a couple of years ago is gone, but I won’t rant about that here. At least not today.)