Journal entry Dec 21

Tonight, Misty the photographer came by to drop off a shadow box for us. The back of the frame has a very nice poem on it, but what was on the flip side took my breath away. It was a casting of Charlotte's feet. I knew that it was done, but to see them in plaster was so beautiful. After the nighttime/bedtime routines were done, I just sat on the end of my bed and cried. I wanted so badly to put that frame down and crash through the glass to get those little feet out and hold them and kiss them. They looked so smooth, just like her flesh did. I just wanted to rub the bottom of her feet. Her little toe looked like mine. Small memories...

So I've been meaning to write in this journal of all of the things, big and small, that cross my mind, but writing these things down is daunting. I want to record them, for what -I don't know. But everyday there's more, and I'm already so behind.

Well, the first one or two days we came home, people started to bring us meals. I went to the kitchen to try to tidy up and noticed that our fridge was full of junk. Jelly jars with only one knife's spread left in them, bundles of ketchup and hot sauce from drive-thrus. So I decided to toss some things out to make more room for all of the chicken casseroles we'd rec'd. So when I came to the vegetable drawer, I saw the cucumbers and the tomatoes that were going rotten. They were still in the clear grocery bags, but very soft and mushy. Some were leaking, some had mold on them. All I kept thinking was that it looked like Charlotte's head. Soft and mushy. I know that's a disgusting thought; but that's all I saw. Bruised.

Another thing was when Brian and I had gone to the cemetery to choose a plot for her. We drove around and found an area that we liked, then we went back to the office to meet with the Caretaker to see what was still available. Brian went into the office ahead of me; I stayed in the car. My sister had given me a "mourning locket" in memory of Charlotte a day or so before. Actually, I think she gave it to me right before we left for the cemetery. Anyway, it's very lovely. Silver, antique. A little larger than what I'm used to. But as I sat in the car, that locket seemed to grow very heavy around my neck. Almost to the point where I felt like it was pulling my body down. It was so strange. I just looked around the office area an thought about how much it reminded me of my great grandparent's house.

I got out of the car because I was tired of waiting and I felt like I needed to see everything that I could. To try to sear it into my brain, every detail. When I got up to the office door, the screen was locked. I felt so stupid because I couldn't unlock it without disturbing Brian and the Manager. when I went inside, I saw a dingy one room office with a bare desk and four shabby upholstered chairs. The office smelled like cigarette smoke and only had a phone and fax machine.

There was a doorway that lead to what looked like a mud room or maybe a laundry room, with a kitchen just beyond that. I wanted to get up and walk thru the house, but obviously we weren't there for that. There was a big black vault that held the diagram of all of the plots on it. Some where handwritten names, some were typed. Very primitive. Nothing was computerized. This diagram was glued to a large piece of particle board.

The man behind the desk was friendly enough, but down to business. He looked like he was average height, and wore a dirty baseball cap or something like it; with an old flannel jacket.
His hair was dingy grey as was his mustache, with yellowing in certain areas. The flannel and pants he had on looked like they hadn't been washed in a very long time, with a large hole ripped in the midsection on the jacket.

A thought crossed my mind of the cemeteries seen on TV that re-use plots, scamming people out of their money. But I didn't care, I just wanted it overwith. So he took us out to the area that we liked and told us how he wasn't going to charge us full price for her plot. I can't remember why. It had something to do with the size or what ever. I didn't care. I considered it a blessing that she would get a large plot to herself.

So we went out amongst the big oak trees. There was one smaller tree in the middle of two grand oaks. That's where I wanted her. Nearest the little tree. It was perfectly shaped and I thought about how shady it would be in the hot summers here.

There were two plots available. One was next to a 2 year old girl, named Katie. And another one next to two infants. For some reason I found it comforting to have her closest to the other babies. I don't know why. But I do know that as we were choosing and talking, Jim the Caretaker kept calling the plots "graves". Oh how it made me cringe! It stung everytime he said it. I know tht that's what it is, but not for my baby, not for Charlotte. I wanted to slap him and tell him to quit saying that word. He told us that because it was for a baby, he would be digging the hole by hand, well, with a shovel instead of a back-ho. I thought that was tender. What a nice thing to say for a Grave-digger to do. After all, if he was gong to put her in a grave, that made him a grave-digger.

So later, at her burial, he was there. Still wearing the same flannel; but this time he had an assistant. A hispanic man, in his 40's. They asked if the family was going to leave before they put her in. But Brian and I said no, we'd watch them put her in. So they took her tiny casket off the table and held it under one arm like a shoe box. It was almost cute. The one thing I noticed though was the cloth they had covering the table was a horrible green with a white cross stitched on the front. Really cheap looking. It was all wrinkled like they wadded it up and shoved it in the spare tire chamber of the hearse. I know, hyper-critical. But it's the strangest things that set me off.

So when they lowered her in, the one man, the assistant, stood on the cement liner and straddled over it. My dad came over and dropped a small golden medallion on top of the casket and that was it. Brian walked over to it, looked into the hole and looked away. I stood ther not knowing what to do. Should I go to Brian, was he ok? Was I brave enough to look into the hole too? Was everyone expecting me to freak out and sob or wail?

All I know is that I didn't want them to place the cement lid over the liner. I knew that three feet of dirt would be piled on top of that; but what if she cried. No one would hear her if she cries.

During the speech that Pastor gave at the burial service, the most precious thing that he said was that there will be a day, resurrection day, when Jesus will come back with Charlotte's spirit with Him and He will stand at her grave and say "Charlotte, come forth." And she will come up to Him and say"Where's my mommy and daddy."

Whew! Just to hear him say "come forth"; how beautiful. It reminded me of what Becky said. She said that when I breathed into Charlotte and called her name, I was putting myself into her and GAVE her name to her. So while she is waiting for me, she will know me. That's why it touched me so much that Pastor said Jesus will call her up by her name.

But that initial visit to the cemetery was surreal. The smaller tree that I liked so much, the Gravedigger Jim said was a flowering photinia. We have that planed in the front yard. Brian and I had talked about removing them because they haven't done much in 2-3 years, but Jim said they are very slow growers. Now I feel like we can't take them out, not even a remote possibility.

So I noticed today that I haven't cracked my Bible open. I don't know why. Am I mad at God? No, not really. A little confused though. I re-read an email I'd sent out and started to feel dumb. Like I sounded like an idiot. Not for, well, I suppose for, believing that I heard from God. I knew at the time that I did. I don't know what I know now. Maybe that's why I haven't read my bible. I'm afraid I'll be wrong again.

No comments:

Post a Comment