Saturday, January 8, 2011

Grief never goes away.

I visited the cemetary today.
This time, it wasn't to visit Olivia. Although I did go visit her grave at the end of my visit.

As I've mentioned before, she is buried at one of Omaha's Catholic Cemetaries. Her spot is right next to the plot my Grandma has purchased for herself, and my Grandpa is already on the other side of that one. Before we had even begun to think about where she should be buried, my Grandma called the cemetary office to see if any of the plots around theirs were still available. When she told us that the one next to hers was free, we jumped at the chance because we loved the idea of her being next to her Great Grandmother, especially because she was able to spend time with Olivia and hold her before she died. My sister Katie is buried at a cemetary in Iowa with my dad's parents, and my mom always said that she found comfort in knowing that she was resting with family... even though I know that neither little girl is "really" in there.
Anyway, When we met with the cemetary guy, he told us that in the other Catholic cemetary across the street is an area just for infants and babies. I liked the idea, but liked the idea of Olivia being with Grandma even better. Since then, I've always meant to go fin the baby area, but never tried until today.

Someone told me recently that the "Infant Serenity" section - i love that name -  has a beautiful statue of an angel holding a little baby in it's arms. Today on my way home, I decided that I wanted to see it. Upon entering the cemetary I saw a section that was decorated with more little Christmas trees etc. than the other areas around it, so I stopped. My mom told me that baby areas are usually the easiest to find around the Holidays because they will be decorated the most. She was VERY right. It was obvious that it was a section for babies or small children because the rows were very close together... clearly because the caskets are so tiny. I remember being shocked, almost to where I felt physically sick, when I saw how teeny tiny Olivia's coffin was. Anyway,  it was a different baby and child section than the one I was looking for, I could tell because it was full.

FULL. The first thing that came to my mind while I was walking through the rows reading the names and dates on the stones was, "There are WAY too many babies here. There are WAY too many parents that have had to do this". I was honestly very surprised at how many graves there were that belonged to babies who died in the 1950s and 1960s that were STILL decorated for Christmas. It really made me realize that this grief never goes away. I already knew that, but this really drove it home for me. There are elderly women who still think about their lost babies on Christmas and come to the cemetary to bring them a Christmas tree and a stocking. How sad. How awful.

Right on the edge of this section I saw a grave stone that had a much larger area in front of it than all the rest. It looked new-ish and it was decorated exactly the same as the tiny one next to it. I walked over for a closer look, and completely broke down into tears as I read the stones. The larger one was the grave of a United States Marine Corps Sergeant who served in the Korean war. I don't remember the dates, but he was a pretty old man when he died. The one next to him was for a little girl with the same last name, who died when she was a day or two old. In 1959.  This obviously made me think of Kurt, who was a Sgt. in the Marine Corps. He won't be able to be buried next to Livie, but I know that he will still be missing her and thinking about her forty years from now. The spot on the opposite side of the baby's grave was completely empty. I really hope that it belongs to her mama.
 I stood there crying and crying, thinking about how sweet it is that he must have purchased the plot right next to hers all those years ago. I also cried because I can only imagine how happy he must have been to finally be reunited with her after forty some years.
Yet another example that the grief never goes away.

I did eventually find the statue I was looking for after I got back in my car and drove around a little bit. The cemetary is HUGE and it was on the other side. I was surprised to immediately see the grave of Sofia, the baby who belongs to Lia, the sweet woman that was my gift exchange partner this Christmas. Of course, I stood there and cried for them too.

I was in a crying mood today, obviously. The section had SO MANY BABIES. It was just ridiculous. I looked at the dates on most of them, and there were so many from 2009 and 2010. I hate that this happens to so many families.

After seeing the graves of all of those babies I felt like I needed to go visit my own. I didn't take anything new with me, but all of these things that we took on Christmas eve are still there. Kurt wanted to take her this puppy that looks like a yellow lab because he said that she would want her own "jack or molly".


lissasue3 said...

This made me tear up. My Charlotte is buried in the children's section near a cousin. It's awful and comforting. And we will be grieving forever. *hugs*

Kimmie said...

I can't imagine that the grief ever would and I still think about you and pray for you often. I recently(in October) had a miscarriage and I remain pretty broken about it, so to actually give birth and hole your precious one and to have hem taken from you aches my heart even more. You are such a strong woman and I know that God is reaching the hearts of many people through you and precious Olivia.

Maggie said...

I have to pass the baby section when I leave the cemetery. A few months ago I stopped to get out and read all the grave stones. It made me so sad, but I liked that the babies that passed the same year I was born still have decorations out for each season. Lets me know that I will continue to move forward, but never forget my Aidster.

Holly said...

This post gave me tears. It is so unbearably sad to think of so many babies lost. Breaks my heart. :( I have walked through our cemetery and looked for all the baby graves. Our cemetery is relatively small but there were still around 23 graves of babies give or take a few because of my memory.

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