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Friday, August 20, 2010

eighteen months exactly

Today it is Friday the 20th of August and it is exactly 18 months since Bruce died. I haven't always paid much attention to the 20th each month-but Fridays always make me a little sad. He died on a Friday the 20th in February so the fact that it is the Friday the 20th of August is creepy, especially since the unveiling is Sunday. We have scheduled the unveiling for Sunday but I am going to go today and check out the stone myself at the cemetery. I want to be prepared to see his name on the stone. I am not sure how I will feel-whether I will break down and cry, or just feel an overwhelming sadness.

It is interesting to think about my response to seeing his name and a beginning and end date. When we put a plaque at the synagogue, it really hit home that he was gone. Almost as if I need to see his name on something to really believe that he is dead. I want to touch his name on the stone and feel his absence. I know this sounds weird but I feel that it is another step in the process of acknowledging the loss and trying to create a life without him. What would I do if he were cremated? Would it bring any closure-where would I see his name?

I have not visited the cemetery much since he died, because it doesn't mean much to stand at a patch of grass and feel his presence. That is not where he is-if he indeed is somewhere. Maybe I will feel differently at the gravestone. Maybe I will "visit" him more often. Interesting to consider, especially if I think about the fact that I always wanted to be cremated. It may be that burial brings some odd closure to the process of acknowledging the death.

Anyway, we will see. I feel pretty brave to be going by myself, but I am doing this because I really do not like crying in front of other people. I have images of myself at the grave on Sunday and after the stone is unveiled throwing myself down and wailing in front of the rabbi and family members. I thought about whether it was sacrilegious to go before the stone is "unveiled" and then decided if it was a sin, what could possibly happen to me? My husband died, I buried my cat last year, my daughter is still out of work. I know I need to count my blessings but life has thrown me many challenges these past 18 months and I am not sure that I am out of the woods. When Bruce was first diagnosed with cardiac problems I lived with so much uncertainty about his health. I would worry about something happening to him. Then he died, and now I worry about the next catastrophe. But life has been pretty bad and if it gets any worse, I will just have to deal with it. I need to see the stone, need to touch his name, need to know whether I feel his presence there and whether the stone brings me any peace or comfort. But I know it will be a shock to see it and I am very unsure what emotions will overwhelm me.

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