I’ve never been the jealous type. So I shocked myself the other day when I shrieked at the discovery that my late husband is now residing just inches away from another woman. The nearest other marker at this miles-long cemetery is yards away.
Somehow last spring, in the throes of fresh grief, I had missed this inevitable development on the cemetery map, where each lot is the size of half a Chiclet. Maybe I left my reading glasses at home. Maybe they wouldn’t have helped.
In any event, his cozy placement next to a woman named Delorise was hard to miss when my family and I caravanned to the final resting place the other day to plant a happy little Japanese maple.
“Wow!” my daughter said. “It looks like they were married.”
“This is not happening!” I assured her, no offense to Delorise, whose family I suspect would be similarly surprised.
“No, it is not,” muttered my son, aka Hair Trigger.
With that, we left the tree-planting crew behind and trudged to the cemetery office to say, as calmly as possible, “Surely there is some mistake.”
There, we became intimately acquainted with the cemetery map and the fact that although we might be alarmed, we really need not be because according to the map, everything was perfect. At this point, my son whispered something about digging something up – I don’t think the maple – and three men in business suits promised to come out and view the newly formed union of Bob and Delorise.
They arrived just as HT was moving a little red flag a couple feet to the right – away from Delorise and over toward the Chiclet that would someday be mine.
“We’ll put the tree farther over,” he said. “And then it will look like another stone is going in.”
“No!” shrieked Suit #3, in charge of trees, who quickly proved, poking around with a spade, that the chosen spot was outside our territory.
“You could, of course, purchase a lot for the tree,” he said. I think I saw him reach inside his jacket for a contract in triplicate.
“That’s ridiculous,” I told him. “I’ll just order my own stone now so there is no question.”
“Good,” he said. “Then your granite will age the same.”
It was a brilliant solution until it occurred to me that unlike the granite, the two of us will not be aging the same. Bob’s stone – with a typewriter carved on its face – announced that at his death, his overriding passion was journalism. He would have loved that the typewriter is holding a piece of paper with the symbol -30- for end of story.
But how can I possibly know what my passion will be in another hoped-for 25 or 30 years? I don’t think I’ll become a pilot or go explore the Amazon, but I want to leave a little room for the possibility.
As much as matching granite might be nice, I’m just not ready for -30-, except in the case of this story, which ends as follows:
A happy little Japanese maple has a lot all its own, and a woman named Delorise, whose loved ones called her “Momma,” is keeping an eye on things till I arrive.