Arrived at the cemetery around 7:00pm. Plenty of sunlight left so reading the names on headstones was easy. It has been twenty years since lying Larry to rest and would have to draw on memory as to his location. Came across many veterans of WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Bowed the head and stood a minute to acknowledge their service and sacrifice for our country. Came across husbands and wives, daughters and sons. The one that really stood out was the young couple who had died within twenty-four hours of each other. What happened? Car accident, house fire, robbery gone bad? But no Larry. Walked the full length of each garden plot looking for a familiar landmark. No Larry.
Totally alone. Couldn’t find him, couldn’t help Debbie, lost in a sea of grief and pain, like a thousand daggers turning slowly in the heart, soul, and gut with each step taken. Tears flowed uncontrollably.
Turned and started walking back towards the truck. Each step more agonizing then the last. Kept looking back at the cemetery thinking that something has been overlooked or forgotten. There were a few other mourners about, but nothing else. Something is missing, but what? Was it the plaque that wasn’t quite able to make out or the scribed monument left unread? What is it?
Fifty yards from the truck there is a praying garden. There were five granite benches, with landscape rocks in a semicircle. It was a place to view those who had been cremated.
It isn’t time to go. There is still something here, something drew us here tonight. But what? Sat down on the first bench, lit a cigarette and continued crying. Called out to God, Larry, Dad, Debbie.
Why? Why has all of this happened?