Sharing One Another’s Loss

This past weekend I found myself stopping by the cemetery where Kevin is buried.  These days I rarely visit.  It’s usually only when I have some down time and I’m in the area.  I know other widow(er)s who visit weekly, some even daily, to feel closer to their lost love.  Not me.  I have never visited multiple times in a week.  It’s because I feel he’s not there.

I noticed the grass behind the headstone had grown in.  There was barely a line where it had been dug out nearly 3 years ago.  The Canadian Flag flying next to the stone had become faded.  I lay some fresh wild flowers picked from my mother’s garden on the stone.  I talked to his stone like I talked to him.  He feels like a stranger in this place.  Last time I visited there was a wide open field by the cemetery.  Saturday there was 6′ high corn.  Time had kept moving.

As I walked the paved path back to my car, I looked over the other headstones.  I had done this before, but mostly looked for names of people I knew.  This time I sought out dates.  Soon I found what had been a 27 year old woman named Nadine.  Her parents’ headstone was next to hers.  Mother still living.  Father died 2 years after daughter.  I thought of the Mother and how distraught she must have been to lose two people so close in time.  Much like my own mother-in law who lost a husband and son in a matter of years.

I passed brothers’ headstones, both  having died before their 25th birthday.  The years indicated they had probably died in Vietnam.  Again, I thought to the parents and any other siblings they may have had.  Too many young deaths in this cemetery.

I forget sometimes that Kevin was not the only young death.  He was 36.  I have met so many other men and women who lost their spouse before  beginning their lives together, some before saying their vowels of commitment.  They never had the chance.

Sometimes I get so consumed in the “woe is me” attitude that I forget that I am far from being the only one to have a tragic story, to have experienced a young loss.  When I read those dates on the stones Saturday night, I shared in their pain.

This coming weekend, when I attend Camp Widow in San Diego I will be meeting others with many similar stories, many different stories, but all with a huge loss.  I know I’ll look in their eyes, see the expressions on their face, and have an immediate relativity to what we have each experienced.

To share loss together is a big step and commitment to healing.  In sharing together, we lift one another up in our journey through grief.  I look forward to carrying their burdens as they have carried mine.

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Comments 2

  1. When I hear about a death in the news I always think about the family. I touches me deeply now, where before I didn’t think much about it.

  2. Same here..

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