Earlier this week, I drove about 85 miles north to meet a friend at a cemetery. To be precise, I went to the cemetery where I had purchased some plots and where a recently engraved headstone and markers are in place.
My friend had a shorter drive and was waiting in the parking lot when I arrived. I knew where to look, and we quickly located the two plots not far from where my parents and my mom’s parents are buried.
The stones I was looking for will eventually mark the graves belonging to my husband and me. Right now, all they identify is space. I was pleased with what I saw. I took some pictures, and then we searched for my friend’s grandparents, buried in another portion of the cemetery. We discovered that quickly enough, and relatively close by, my paternal grandparents’ graves.
By this time, we had seen what I traveled north to see, and the two of us left the cemetery and went out for a bite of lunch. We had a delightful lunch at a famous eatery, Tony Packo’s, caught each other up on decades of our lives, and then we said goodbye, and I began the drive home.
After arriving home, I stayed up a bit past midnight. Finally, feeling a little sleepy, I decided that I better get some shut-eye. Maybe five minutes later, something unexpected happened. A strange feeling came over me that I needed to get out of bed and get a box down from a shelf in the closet.
That box was filled with letters between my husband and me. We exchanged letters when we were just friends, courting, and continued writing during many years of marriage. I read dozens of those letters until the wee hours of the morning.
A strange thing happened as a result. In some ways that I can’t quite explain, reading those letters put the heart back in me. At the end of my darling’s life, it became increasingly more difficult for him to speak. The most cherished was the last I love you that he managed to say to me, shortly before he died. These letters reminded me of the richness of our life and gave me new courage for the days ahead. The box has not been far away from me, yet I didn’t think about it until late at night.
Perhaps I was nudged to open that treasure box and feast my eyes.