Things got messy.
Just a few hours after I posted about being able to do this with, through and because of Jesus, I was informed that Teagan’s headstone had been installed. I didn’t lie. I’m still doing it, it just went to the messy and ugly kind of doing it in a pretty big hurry.
When we ordered it a few weeks ago, they had told us there was no way to get it done and installed before spring. So that was what I had planned and expected. I had another temporary plaque made, that was coincidentally just finished last week and we are planning to pick up install this week. (And we still are. It’s amazing.)
I had actually called the monument company this morning to ask if I could make some additions to the back of Teagan’s headstone after seeing a dear friend post her sons newly installed headstone. I loved the back of his and thought I’d make an addition and have Teagan’s family listed. The sweet lady asked for the order number, paused for a moment and sweetly replied, “Oh, that was actually installed last night.”
I probably scared her with my response. It was surprise. I was honestly shocked to hear her say that, but then the weird panicky feeling, that is now oh, so familiar hit. I had to get there. Now. Like right now. My chest tightened and I told my four-year-old to get dressed! I felt rushed. It felt urgent. (You know, cuz permanently placed granite and concrete monuments often just get up and move at their convenience. Totally irrational, I’m aware.) We hopped in the car, shoes untied, hair not done, and bra-less. Nope, I didn’t even take time to put on a bra. It was urgent.
I drove. It still felt urgent. Until it wasn’t anymore.
I got to the top of the hill at the cemetery. Then I just wanted it to all go away. Away. I wanted it to all freaking go away. I didn’t want to be at that cemetery. At my boys grave site. Scanning for a headstone with my child’s name on it. I swallowed hard and took a breath. I reminded myself that in the backseat was my sweet four-year-old. As we approached our parking spot, I told him like I have a hundred other times, “Hey bud, I might cry, ok? I promise I’m ok. I might just feel a little sad.”
We followed normal procedure, turned off the car, grabbed the blanket and slowly walked up and took our spot. As I held back tears, Bowen asked if I could tie his shoes that we hadn’t taken time to tie before we left. I blankly tied the shoes while I stared at the name in stone. His name. In stone. With two dates. It was beautiful. It’s just as I had hoped. Maybe even better. It really turned out so good. So good.
I cried quietly while inside my mind, body and soul were freaking out.
I snapped a picture and sent it to my husband. I needed a breather so we walked to Meghann’s grave. Bowen blew on the spinny-thing at a nearby headstone like he often does. I took some deep breaths. I whispered, “I love you. I miss you” to Meghann. We slowly made our way back. As I stared at his headstone as we walked back, my heart did the familiar sink, my eyes got hot, my chest felt physical pain, and I felt like my brain was shutting down.
“It’s real. It’s really real, Amber. He’s gone. It happened. He did it. He followed through. He really, literally, honestly meant it when he said he couldn’t do it anymore. It’s really real.”
And now I sit. Hot tears, swollen eyes, aching head, the gaping hole in my chest- feeling ripped open wider than ever. Trying to understand to no avail. Wishing desperately things were different and not as they are. Wishing I could have, would have and should have prevented this whole thing.
I’d love to tell you I’m full of hope and understanding and joy and peace, but I’m not. I am not. I can’t help but hear the words echoing in my head from September 7th.
“I cant. I can’t do this.”
But I will. I know the familiar hand that reaches for mine. I know it. I’ll hold on to it for dear life and I’ll do what I can’t do alone. Messy, ugly, unpredictable, but I’ll do it, with my hand in His. Cuz it’s literally the only way I can.
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