I did visit her grave, eventually. When we had the headstone finally in place. After we all argued over what should be put on it, what shape it should be, what colour the fucking lettering should be.
As if any of that matters.
She didn’t even want a headstone, she wanted to be buried with a tree planted above her.
But, then again, she always used to love walking around cemeteries and graveyards, reading all the headstones; trying to find the oldest one. She was fascinated by them somehow. I remember all the times she made us take shortcuts through graveyards on the way home, and I hated them, they really scared me. I used to imagine the bodies reaching up out of the ground in that cliche way they do in movies, and pulling themselves out of the ground. That was only because I’d seen my friend at the time playing stupid zombie video games that kids our age shouldn’t have been playing though.
Now I just find them sad. Sad and quiet and peaceful. There’s something terribly touching about seeing other people there visiting the graves of their own loved ones. Just standing still, head bowed, staring down at the ground; sometimes a hand laid on the top of the stone, trying to feel some connectedness to the person whose name it bears.
I didn’t really feel anything different when I saw mum’s grave for the first time. I thought it would hurt like a stab to the heart. I thought I might crumple to the ground in tears at the sight of this very solid, very real proof that she was gone forever. I suppose I must have already accepted that she was gone for good a long time ago.
I walk past it now on the way home from work about once a week. Sometimes I stop to stand and stare for a little bit, but mostly I just carry on. I don’t feel any connection to her there. It’s just a memorial, just a stone with her name on.
She’s not there.