Sunday, July 13, 2014

Slap in the face

People have very different perspectives and feelings about cemeteries.  Some feel the need to go out often, some don't feel like going out at all. Some are afraid and uncomfortable, while others enjoy the serenity.  I've always been one who appreciates the peace a cemetery provides, the memories and history  that float around the people buried there, the continued love families share for their deceased loved ones.
I don't typically spend much time visiting family members and mourning over their rapidly decaying remains. Gabriel is different though,  I like to go out there often.  I go there for myself. I bring him gifts. It's my only chance to be near him, physically in his presence. But, it's a harsh reality to go there and see our son's name, carved so delicately in stone.

"Gabriel Chavez - Our Son, Our Angel".  

I go there for a quick slap in the face.   Yes, I said it. A slap, in the face.  This is my life.      This is my story.      The harsh reality check  feels good sometimes.  You can cry, mourn, and celebrate there. You can be angry and grateful to the universe at the same time.  It's a release to let all the emotions out, and a comfort to be physically near him. It's healing to be so firmly reminded of his existence in my  life. 
The emotions that roll through when you visit your child at the cemetery are intense. It's excitement, sadness, anger, fear, and heartache. It's  longing, happiness, peace, hate, and love. It's everything you've ever felt all rolled into one. It's powerful, intensive, fierce and often hard to handle. But that's why I go. For those few moments I don't need to handle it.  I feel however I feel in the moment and my attention and feelings are focused on him, directed on that tiny baby cradled in the coffin, instead of in my arms.
I feel sad.  I haven't been to the cemetery in months. 

I know Gabriel is around me, I know he's watching me and always near me, I talk to him often. Sometimes though, I just need to be physically near him.  I sometimes find myself crouching or laying on the ground in the middle of the cemetery just so I can be as close as possible to him; physically near whatever is left of his tiny little body.  Sometimes I just need that cold harsh reminder that he did exist.  

Somewhere in my mind, I think I'm afraid I'll forget him.  I know in my heart that could never happen.  My heart will always remember those moments we spent together, and the time we had.  But memories fade, and somewhere in the back of my mind I think I fear that the most. I believe that to be the reason visiting the cemetery is so important to me.  I get a firm reminder of him and everything we went through together. The cold hard slap in the face is exactly what makes me feel confident that I can never forget.
The heart-wrenching thing for me is seeing all the fresh new graves buried deep in the ground.  All the other tiny babies that have joined Gabriel and his friends. There's too many. So many babies gone from their parents arms.  It breaks my heart to know so many other moms have felt the same pain and heartache that I have had to endure.   
I think of him every day.  I miss him everyday. I wonder what life would be like now if he were still here with us. I think about all the milestones we watch the boys go through, that we never got to see of Gabriel. All the different ages and stages of life that our surviving kids get to experience, but Gabriel won't.

No comments:

Post a Comment