Just down the street on the way to the playground is an old cemetery. We walk by it frequently and sometimes we stop, because Kathleen likes to visit the "castles." It is not a particularly ornate or ostentatious cemetery, but some of the monuments are tall and there are some family plots with steps and one with a decaying wrought iron gate.
While Kathleen climbs up and down the steps, I walk the rows, reading the aged stones:
I like that they make it easy for me. No math, no wondering if 1871–1871 lived a day or a year. I considered (though not seriously) writing 203 days on his stone or 6 months, 18 days. We didn't though.
Our family name. His name with hearts on either side. His born and died dates. Son of Brian and Sara.
It's a rough, imperfect stone. I love the stone itself. I'm happy with the carving. I'm getting used to how it looks next to the more polished stones. I accept that it is not right over him (we were warned of that long ago when they first put him in the ground), though a little closer would have been nice. Still, he is marked. You can find him. We can plant things, place things for him. Henry's stone, his castle, was installed today.
I stopped today on our way to music class to see where they were placing him and what the stone looked like. "It looks good," I murmured. "Pretty soon it will be all set, in forever," the guy told me. Ah, yes, forever.
When I got back in the car, Kathleen was asking questions and wanting to see them work, and perhaps we could have stayed and watched the process, but. No. I couldn't. As I fielded her questions and focused on the road, hiccoughing sobs wracked through me. There it was, written in stone, the brief time he had with us. There is was, written in stone, my baby is gone. Not that I don't know, but there it was.
I met Brian there after work and we looked and commented on how it came out and I cried again in the gathering dark and the misty rain. I'm glad it's done. I will appreciate having it there when we visit. But, it's a grave stone for my baby, calling it his castle doesn't disguise that.