The holidays always bring the question of visiting the cemetery with something special when you may be missing your child the most. The cemetery has never been easy for me, but the last few years I have come to peace with my visits. Initially I would be very depressed for days after going. Yet I wanted to go and just prepared myself for feeling bad. Then gradually, I saw it as a time for peace and a quiet place to talk to Chris and my husband, Fred, too.
If you are wrestling with the decision of whether or when to go or are dreading going, perhaps I can help you with my own experience.
1) It may be easier to go with another friend or relative. I usually go alone, but this year, I may ask a good friend to go with me. I am feeling the need for support this year. I have been under more stress than usual and not feeling well. Sit down and think about your needs and who and what would support you the most.
2) After going to the cemetery, decide if you want some quiet time, need to go to church or perhaps you would rather be distracted by being with other people. The choice is yours. Do not feel or pressured to do something. If you must attend a social engagement, then schedule the cemetery for a time in which you will not be obligated to do something afterwards if you want quiet.
3) It is okay not to go to the cemetery if you are dreading going or become ill or very distraught by visiting your child's gravesite. You can sit in quiet and visit with your child anywhere. It is NOT necessary to go to the gravesite. You can buy a special plant, plant a special live commemorative tree, bake a special dessert, have a special toast or a commemorative meal at home or in a restaurant.
Finally, let me leave you with the words of the poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye:
Do not stand by my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond's gift of snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am autumn's gentle rain
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there
I did not die.
Our children's spirits go on and we with them.