Monday, March 7, 2011

It's Final

I recently received an e-mail from Hawaiian Memorial Cemetery informing us that Vincent's grave marker was finally installed, so after church last week we went to see it.

We have visited Vincent's gravesite several times since the burial, but somehow seeing the marker placed there with Vincent's name and the words "Victorious in Jesus' Arms" made the experience feel more real, but just barely.  I couldn't help noticing how bare the grave looks, even with the flowers tucked into the vase.  The marker was muddied by all the rain, and instead of grass, ungainly weeds are growing all around his grave.  It's not what I expected.  The cemetery itself is breathtakingly beautiful, nestled beneath the Ko'olau mountains, looking down at the beach in the distance.  But the gravesite itself is unkempt, bare, stark. I almost like it better before the marker was installed, before I have to see Vincent's name carved into the brass, brutally reminding me that he's dead.  Really and truly dead.

While he was alive, Vincent lived a mostly cozy and happy life, always warm, snuggling right next to me, surrounded by quilts, toys, animals, and books.  He loved his brother.  He loved to giggle with Daddy.  He even slept right next to Dan and I at night.  While he was alive, I wouldn't have ever let him play on this hill here in the cemetery - I would have thought it too steep, too windy, and containing too many tripping hazards for toddling little boys. And yet, this is where he is now, lying just beneath my feet. I hate this, how different it all is now. I hate that all I have left of him is this grave, this cold, muddy, horrible, horrible grave.    

It's really dreadful for me to actually think of him buried beneath the marker, wrapped in his favorite monkey blankie.  How the hell am I supposed to function now?  Sure, his little spirit is currently happily playing in heaven, but I'm not there right now, obviously.  How will I be able to live the rest of my life without him?  I don't even want that question answered.  

Over the course of Vincent's 18 month life, I changed diapers, bathed him, gave him medication, nursed him, fed him, held him, cuddled him, and in general, got very attached to his body. That's all I had of him.  And now, that's all that is left of him here with us.  I hate that. 

I hate this whole freaking thing. 


Anonymous said...

Did anyone every tell you what a wonderful Mommy you were to Vincent!?!? Just listening to the love and care you had and have for him and his brother, I want you to know that you are an awesome Mommy. You will always be Vincent's Mommy and no one can take that from you. Vincent felt your selfless love for 18 months. I just want to tell you what a wonderful Mommy you are and don't forget it...because there are things beyond your control and you didn't fail or let anyone down. You did everything a good Mommy could and would do. I just want you to make sure you take credit for that. (((HUGS)))

We're all so sorry that precious, beautiful, little Vincent is gone. And we are so sorry for the hurt that is tearing you inside and out. Love and prayers dear one. Jesus is still with you and He does care that you're hurting so much. He will never leave you or forsake you, even in your darkest hour.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't like it either. There is no way around the pain....just keep doing what your doing and let us cry along side you. Even in Dallas the tears flow. Love you guys.

Unknown said...

Some tears are being shed for you here in the Philippines too, Beccs, in the hope to help ease the gnawing pain somehow!

For Dan, I may never fully know a man's tears and how they are shed, but it is alright for you to cry too!

For Theo, only God can understand your unspoken hurts and how you express them with misunderstood actions. Some day, God's careful cautioning of the painful blows against your frail, tender spirit will still become a tool in order for you to grow up right with Him.

All Stringers are loved.

Anonymous said...

Rebecca, I've never known this kind of pain...and if what I feel when I read your posts makes me hurt this badly, I never want to know it!

A friend of mine lost her parents some years ago. After they were buried, she did what she COULD do. That entailed purchasing a battery-powered weed wacker and leaf-blower, a toothbrush, a broom, a pack of brown paper bags, and a variety of flowering annuals.

She would go to their grave site whenever possible (at first, every weekend) and do some maintenance. Their site was as you describe Vincent's...unkempt. We KNOW that Vincent is no longer there, but this is where you go to connect with him. SO, if you need to take your old toothbrush and scrub the mud out of the engraved words, or wack a few unruly weeds to make his resting place more presentable, then that's what you do. You do what you CAN do.

And don't let anyone tell you that flowers are only allowed in the little vase....remember, getting forgiveness is easier than permission!! :)

You are doing well. Rebecca, you are being honest and open...that's far, far more than I can do with unimportant, everyday type stuff! You just keep doing what you're doing. Keep your family close to you. Lean on your husband, and let him lean on you. Hold your son close. And give yourself permission to feel crappy....and also to feel happy. Vinny's death is not meant to be a cross for you to bear until you are reunited with him. And certainly not one to be born alone.

Keeping you in my prayers and in my thoughts.