This picture was taken in 2006 by me...you can see me in the reflection. The headstone is mine, it sits right next to Daniel's on a hill in Ellinger Texas. It's in the cemetery next to the church we were married in.
I'm sure my family and friends thought I was nuts when I ordered two headstones for our double plot. What did I need a headstone for? I was too young to plan to die. My mother-in-law told me I'd likely remarry and want to be buried somewhere else. I was horrified. I had no idea when I would die or where I would want to be buried, but I knew one thing for certain. If a stranger came to that little cemetery in the country, I didn't want them thinking my husband was alone or unloved. A single headstone with no room for a partner was not good enough. A stranger needed to be able to tell he was loved when he went too soon. He had people. He was loved.
I went to Ellinger this week - G and I wanted to visit for Father's Day. Driving up the road to the cemetery was familiar, we've done this so many times before: stop at Hruska's for colaches and drinks, drive up the hill for our visit. But this time something was different. This time I was engaged. I drove up the hill with the view of that beautiful old church, my left hand on top of the steering wheel. For a moment my engagement ring was superimposed over the church and I was taken aback. This was the place where I thought my life was beginning, and this was also the place where I thought my life was ending. Both things were true in a way. One life began here, and it also sort of ended here. The life I knew and had planned was laid to rest one sunny day in November.
Grayson and I sat by Daniel's grave and ate our lunch. We didn't feel sad. It was a gorgeous day and we were peaceful. Grayson commented that he didn't feel as sad as usual and he wondered if it was because we have Carl now. I told him I thought we'd feel sad sometimes even with Carl in our lives and that it was okay. He agreed. It was surreal, the conversation with G combined with the engagement ring, and my lovely church. It felt like some sort of official start to the next chapter of my life. An appropriate spot for it really. Hard to believe. To be continued....