The Cemetery

Most people in my family are faithful in their visits to the cemetery, placing flowers on the graves of those we have lost. I've never been one to make cemetery visits a priority in my life. My father has been dead for nearly 20 years and I have been to his grave maybe twice and probably couldn't even find it now. Honestly, I doubt that I will visit my mother's grave very often. Staring at a grave stone does not make me feel connected to the person who has died. I've often wondered if the Art of Cemetery Visitation is generational or if I am simply missing some important emotional trait. This trip to Kansas City was our first trip back since my mother died in July. There was a general feeling that we should take the kids to visit my mother's grave. We did that today. My sister and nephew led the way while Luisa, the kids and I followed. We stopped at the grave stone and stared in silence. The kids felt the names of their grandparents carved in the stone and looked at the ground intently as if expecting something. I too was expecting something. I expected to be overcome with grief. I expected to relive the shock and disbelief that I had endured in July. I expected to feel something but I didn't feel anything at all. It felt no more real to me than it did then. As I stood there willing myself to feel all of those things I thought I should feel, Miguel unexpectedly dropped to the ground, cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled into the dirt, "NANA! I am here!". Zeca then dropped to the ground beside him and yelled, "I am here too". I started laughing and then I began to cry. We all did, smiling and crying and turning away from the kids while they continued shouting into the earth. They shared their memories and their feelings, all at a volume that could have (proverbially) raised the dead but (thankfully) didn't. It was fabulously absurd.