We planted pansies at Henry's grave yesterday. The water spigot near his stone was broken, so Brian walked the kids halfway across the cemetery to fill the watering can. Brian's voice faded slowly as he pointed out names we know and flags for veterans. Cars zoomed by on the road behind me. Our cemetery is right on the main road, and yet, when I'm there, I feel invisible.
The sun was warm and I just sat in front of Henry's stone before I started clearing dead leaves and digging a hole for the pansies. And I thought, not for the first time, "How is this my life?" I am still stymied sometimes by the fact that I have a child who died. I can't make sense of this stone with his name instead of the smiling face and warm body I once held.
Looking at the pansies, I remembered the basket of these white and yellow flower that appeared in this spot that first spring, when the ground was a scar of raw bare ground, much like our hearts. We didn't know for some time who left them, but I was comforted that somebody besides us came, that somebody remembered, that somebody cared enough to leave a patch of brightness for him, for us. I remember too how deflated I was when they disappeared, how the energy seeped right out of me even as Brian's anger burned brighter and harder. His anger frightened me. I remember but I'm here.
I'm here on this sunny day with the grass growing thickly where the ground was once bare. I'm here with a stone marking what was so long unmarked. I'm here with Brian and my girls moving back toward me, voices gaining as they moments before faded. I am here. Brian is here. My girls are here. And the pansies are here, so when I drive by there is brightness.