My eldest son just asked me if Rob, his dad has a grave. Rob died more than 5 years ago. THAT is grief operating on its own time line. He wasn't ready to ask that until just now. We are these crazy packages of skin and bones and muscle and memory and feelings and spirit and we can get awfully tangled up. Integrating all of it is a full time job as far as I can tell. And it doesn't make it any easier that we can walk around and function seemingly well even though we are leaving most of our emotional selves pinned under the biggest of boulders. For YEARS! We can live our entire lives emotionally hamstrung by our childhoods. Add to that the grief events that await us at nearly every turn.
My remedy is to try to open myself to whatever feelings come up and then find a solution that makes me feel better. It doesn't have to make sense on a rational level, in fact I usually like the solutions that don't make sense rationally.
Take for example my task for tonight. I unearthed Rob's beloved Birkenstock sandals today. They were in a pile of shoes at the bottom of a plastic tote in the basement. He wore them for many. many years and they are molded to his feet. What to do with them? I'm exhausted so I just put them in the garbage. I fell into bed but I hated that they were in the garbage. If FELT bad. So I got up and took them out and put them on the counter and climbed back into bed. I let my feelings speak to me. They said I should bury them in the backyard next to my vegetable garden. It seems right that they should keep me company when I am gardening. They should be near me but kept safe from use by anybody else and free from desecration by sitting in a landfill. This makes me feel better. Its healing for me. Grief will speak to you but you have to be willing to listen, maybe willing to do something nutty. But it will be your path to weaving your feelings and your spirit and your mind and body back together.
I think of Rob's grave as the sunny, sandy bottom of Round Lake where we dispersed some of his ashes. To Caleb that didn't seem right. I asked him what was important for him. He said, "Reece and I and our kids will need a place to visit him." This makes me cry. I ask him where that might be, what feels right to him? After some thought he said, "I don't know but I want it to say his name and his birth and death date somewhere." So we will be doing some research on green cemeteries.
I am a trained end-of-life doula. I provide guidance and support for individuals and families during the end-of-life process.