Posted by: Kathy | August 5, 2009

It’s Only a Picture

All day I’ve felt off. I’ve cried a lot today, more than I have in the past few months. My mom’s death was upsetting me, but it was more than just that, there was something else that I couldn’t put my finger on. And then it came to me. Last night I received an e-mail from my dad. I knew what it was, but that still didn’t completely prepare me for the image that came up on my cell phone – a digital rendering (picture) of my parents’ headstone.

My brother is a gifted artist. About 8 years ago, he created a tile that was inset into my grandparents’ headstone. Now he’s doing the same thing for my mom’s headstone. She loved orchids, had over 300 plants when she died. So my brother created a beautiful round tile of a single orchid flower. I saw a picture of the tile for the first time about a week ago, and I know that my brother is also designing my mom’s headstone. I mentioned to my dad that I wanted to see the headstone before the design was finalized. I realize now that that request was a big mistake.

Right before I went to bed last night, I saw that my phone was flashing with a new e-mail. I opened the e-mail attachment from my dad – a digital rendering of a headstone, with an orchid tile inset at the top of the stone and both of my parents’ names below. It took my breath away. I closed the picture, and then the e-mail without responding, and went to sleep. Soon after I feel asleep, I briefly dreamt of my mom. I was in a room and it was really, really dark. I called out to my mom, said her name, and then I woke up. I didn’t remember the dream until this afternoon when I finally figured out what had been bothering me all day.

Seeing my mom’s name carved into that “stone” was like losing her all over again. The headstone with her full name and those dates symbolizes the end of life, the end of her being on this Earth. It is done. Over. Final. Seeing one of my parent’s names like that is hard, seeing both was shocking, even though there was only one date for my father. If I remember correctly, my mom didn’t want my grandmother’s name put on her parents’ headstone when my grandfather died. I can understand why.

I know it was only a picture, but it was a difficult one to look at since it is exactly what my parents’ headstone will look like once it’s carved. I don’t want to see that headstone again until it is placed on my mother’s grave on the 1 year anniversary of her death. Although I may save the picture and look at it every once in a while, so maybe, somehow, I will be a little more “prepared” when I see the real thing.

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