Today Jordan and I went to visit Jonah. Every time I see his perfect name, the name I chose for him, carved on his little headstone the reality hits me again. My little boy's body is not with me anymore. It is so hard to think about his small body, separated from mine by layers of dirt and grass. I wish I could hold him again, I wish I would have held him even longer when he died.
I never really understood the ritual of visiting graves at the cemetery until Jonah died. It is so healing to have a distinct and separate place to go to remember him. I love that I am alone there, that I can cry and no one questions my tears. They are expected. I love to watch Jordan clean the headstone and continue to care for his child. I love it when people tell me they stopped by to see Jonah, because I want everyone to remember him and how beautiful he was.
When I visit Jonah I like to walk around and visit the other children at the cemetery. There are far too many. I see their beautiful names...Isola, Bradley, Claire. I read their birthdays and death days. I think about each of their mothers carefully choosing a name, celebrating their birth and experiencing the grief I feel now.
When I think about these graveyard mothers I realize I am not alone. Is it strange to find comfort in the graves of other children? I realize that death, and even the death of children, has always been a part of life. So why did I feel so immune? How could I think I would avoid such heartache? Now I see death all around me. I feel the pain of others more intensely. Part of me wishes I could crawl back in my cocoon, that I could cover my eyes and not see. And part of me is grateful for the knowledge, for the ability to see. I hope the purpose of pain is to help us see the world around us more clearly, to open our eyes, and enlighten our minds.
1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.