It’s time to share another story of weird ‘coincidences,’ of hope, which is quite interesting given the tile of this post. How I ever found hope in a cemetery is very strange indeed.
I never liked cemeteries, the eerie graves, the gates that scream ‘keep out!’ Maybe it’s too many Halloween stories, but I never felt comfortable in one. Even when my mom died, I didn’t find peace visiting her there. It was weird and uncomfortable. Maybe it was just all too real. It just wasn’t me, I didn’t feel her presence there, because I knew that she wasn’t.
Right after the accident happened and we were scrambling to pull together arrangements, our friends Sandy and Mike offered a burial plot for Benny. We hadn’t even wrapped our heads around what we wanted to do yet and the medical examiner hadn’t released Bennett yet. God it sounds so awful to say that, but it’s the truth. About a week or two after the accident we finally had to make a decision and we decided to cremate Benny. I’d never really given much thought to what I would want done with my body when I passed, never mind my 17 month old baby. It was just one more way to draw out having to make a decision, having to bury him, having to deal with the horror of it all. So he became dust and sat at the funeral home for several months.
I knew that I wanted to have him blown into glass, Parker wanted to take him on the Great Race down the East coast, but we had all the time in the world to figure that out now. It was a good breather from the chaos of the first few weeks. I was sitting with the therapist over the winter and talking about the cremation. We had no idea what to do with his remains and for the first time I realized I wanted to bury him. Sure we could scatter him, but where? ‘If I don’t bury him, it will be like he never existed, there will be no headstone, no place where he is physically.’ As I said this, my therapist teared up. I realized how sad that would truly be and that we needed to do something.
We talked about burying him on his birthday and quickly nixed that idea as I realized that we couldn’t explain to Darcy and friends that Benny was in a tiny box. We were having a hard enough time explaining the whole body/soul connection. Tara came over one Sunday to help me paint and we began planning and looking into cemeteries. I felt strongly that Benny was buried in the same place as Sandy and Mike, that they had some claim to him too. They are such a part of our lives, our children’s lives. They are family. So we figured we would start with Worcester County Memorial Park. That’s when Benny started to intervene again.
We started talking about this on Sunday, unbeknownst to Sandy who was meeting with Marie from WCMP on Monday. She had seen her at a home show and had made an appointment. On Monday, I received a text from Sandy saying that Marie would be contacting us. Great, I thought, one less thing to do. We met with Marie on Thursday and sat down to listen to our choices. Marie didn’t know our story, all that she knew was that we lost our son. They have a section at WCMP set aside for babies under 1. She said that they would make an exception and that Benny could be buried there if we wished. To be honest, the thought of even being confronted with a baby cemetery was too much. I was horrified. Given my feeling on cemeteries in general, this wasn’t a good start. We reviewed our options and headed over to the cemetery to take a look. I had it in my head that none of this mattered, I would never go, I hated these places.
On the ride out to Paxton, Parker’s landlord from the shop called. She and I talked for a moment, and then we lost service. I figured we would see her when we got back to the shop. We talked about the idea of the baby cemetery and what we wanted to do. It was an uncomfortable car ride as we both tried to keep it together.
To call WCMP a cemetery is unfair. It is a park as it’s name states. It is separated into gardens and there are no headstones, only monuments, so all that you see are the rolling hills surrounding you. It was absolutely breathtaking and peaceful. There is no fence, you can visit whenever you wish. We drove around, taking it all in and ended up at the office, right in front of the ‘Garden of Angels.’ I was surprised at how peaceful it all felt, how right. I mean it was sad, but not as depressing as I had anticipated. The monuments were decorated with flowers and toys and we looked at this space as something good for Darcy as well. Somewhere she could bring trucks and balls for her lost brother. We knew this was where we belonged in the future, but we left there still needing to think about Benny.
We got back to the shop and stopped in to chat with the landlord. To call her that seems silly, she is one of the nicest, caring people and we have always been friendly. She asked what we were doing in Paxton, because there’s really nothing out that way. Parker said we had some errands to run. Our landlord stopped, thought for a second and looked at us, ‘you were at the cemetery,’ she said, ‘my son is buried in the Garden of Angels.’ She too had lost a baby years ago, but we had no idea that he was there. We looked at each other and decided to take it as a sign that this is where Benny should go.
We bought our future plots and signed all of the paperwork. Part of it felt good to know that it’s all taken care of, that our family won’t have to deal with any of this when the time comes. We hemmed and hawed about Benny’s monument, but WCMP came through and was able to get ‘Captain Crazy’ added above his name. It was very appropriate for our little man. We also had a bear added, our ‘Benny Bear.’ They were putting a rush on the order and were miraculously able to get it in in very short order. We had expected it for May 17th, but were surprised when it was there on May 8th when we buried him.
I was talking to my new friend Sue one day after yoga. I had told her how we had started pulling together arrangements and that we would be burying Benny at WCMP. Sue got the same look as when I told her about the sunflowers. Her son that had passed was buried at WCMP too. This just felt so much like our boys were giving us a sign again. That was without a doubt when I knew that this was where Benny belonged. He wouldn’t be alone, not by a long shot.
When I look back at my post from May 17, this where we started about 6 weeks before. Things just came together and it was if Benny was orchestrating it all for us. I know in my heart of hearts that he has been there guiding us through it all. I would be a fool to take these signs for granted, so I’ll take them for what they are. We’re lucky, blessed that our little man is trying to help us tie up loose ends. I love you little guy.