I haven't stopped at the cemetery for a long time. Part of it is that I haven't been out much, and frequently when I do get out I have a crying baby who likes motion. Part of it is that Henry's grave was covered with a mound of snow. Part of it is that I'm often not sure what to do when I'm there. It doesn't always feel natural, and in the winter when it is cold and I can't even touch the ground that covers him it often feels even less so.
There have been days I felt compelled to go visit him. I always like to stop on our way out of town and on the way back if we are going away for any length of time. I bring flowers and we water them through the spring and summer. Twice though, they were taken, which made Brian angry and me deflated.
So, I hadn't been in a while, but I was out driving and Kathleen had fallen asleep so I pulled in. I parked right next to his grave. He is so close to the road.
Things have been melting lately. There are bare patches of ground under trees, and the snow has retreated from the edges of the grass. His space was melted to the muddy, still frozen ground, and on top of his space was the heart-shaped wreath I had placed on top of the snow on Christmas. The red ribbon was still there; the red berries had lost their coating and were half red, half white.
It looked bedraggled, a little lonely, and a little sad.
But as I approached the house, I saw Henry's lamp on in the window. Brian had gotten home early and turned it on. The glow of the moon shaped lamp, gentle and warm, welcomed me home. I started lighting the lamp last winter during those darkest of days, and I have lit it every night since.
I will still go to the cemetery sometimes to "visit" Henry, but more often I have my time with him here at home. Here where I have memories of him. Here where he should be.