Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cemeteries and Butterflies



Is it weird to take a picture of yourself in a cemetery?

I went in search of my great-Grandma's headstone yesterday at Memorial Park Cemetery in St. Joseph, Missouri.  I didn't find it due to tardiness.  The offices closed about half an hour before I arrived so I just drove around hoping that I would stumble upon the right spot.  Unfortunately, this is one of those cemeteries that only has flat stones, versus the standing headstones, so driving around is for naught.

Eventually, I came to a spot that I just knew was familiar.  I thought back 8 years and remembered a slight sloping hill. . .?  I walked up the little hill, scanning the headstones carefully.  I went down each row to my left, backtracked to the right and finally made my way up to the top of the hill.  It was then that I realized there were many sloping hills in the cemetery and this was obviously the wrong one.

It was a beautiful day! Light breezes made the 90 degree heat seem a little less, strong gusts of wind were refreshing.  I let the initial feeling of disappointment fade.  I could always come back when the chapel offices were open, but I was still a little disappointed nonetheless.  This was the last place I saw her.

Leisurely, I began walking back to my car thinking about the people buried here, careful to walk between stones, thinking about their families.  Once my car was in site and about 30 yards (I'm terrible with estimating distance) away, I saw a butterfly land on the tip top of the antennae.  I smiled so big and for so long that I ended up snapping this photo.  

I knew she wasn't there but I felt like she was with me.  A beautiful day outside, warm and breezy, the sounds of birds singing and conversing between trees, bees zipping to and from flowers. . .all things that she loved and described in her letters to me.  Then, a butterfly, and she was with me. 

I didn't get to sit next to her headstone, and for some reason I still have this need to do so, but truly I'm reminded of her everywhere and that little butterfly sent me home peaceful instead of regretful.  This is a picture of me and my grandma.  Weird?  Maybe, but that's okay.

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