My daughter Emily is buried in Angeltown, and I’m realizing, I’m not going to get there before Christmas.
It stinks. I can’t describe for you how awful it is to realize that this year, I’m not going to put the tree on her grave. I’m not going to be there on Christmas morning before going to church. I can’t put a little wreath down. I can’t put her stocking with her annual letter to Santa (which always has the ink washed away by the snow by the time I take down the decorations.)
Angeltown is 65 miles from here. It’s not a terrible drive. But given how tight things will be between now and Christmas, I can’t go. Not unless I make substantial changes, and I’m not sure I can. I’m not sure it’s “worth” it. Because logically, I’d be driving three hours in order to spend ten to twenty minutes at the cemetery where, to be blunt, my daughter isn’t anyhow.
But I want to go. I wish I could be there.
It’s just an extra insult. It’s bad enough the baby’s dead. Shouldn’t I at least be able to wish her a merry Christmas?
And I know, I know, I know, you don’t have to tell me that she’s in Heaven and she’s watching over us and she prays for us and she loves us and she understands.
This is me. This is how I feel, and what I want to be able to do, and how I can’t do it. For Christmas, I want to drive back to Angeltown and say hello to my daughter at her gravesite and sit on the wet ground for a while, listening to the traffic and watching the wind play with the grass, straightening up her grave and the baby graves nearby hers, and just being quiet inside.
There’s a peace at that cemetery. It’s impossible to describe, but I can remember the feel of the wind on my cheek and the indistinct sounds of the road, but mostly the overall silence and the nonpressure of nontime. She’s not there, but she’s there in a way.
“When it comes to cemeteries, there are goers and non-goers,” a social worker said to me early on, “and both tactics are fine.” I was a goer in the first year after Emily died. I wanted to be there three times a week. I’d bring my coffee and sit after dropping off Kiddo#1 at school. On her birthday, I brought my guitar and played for a while.
Not this Christmas. It’s just not going to happen.
I’m sorry, Emmie. I didn’t want it to be this way.