I've often had messages from followers on my Facebook page to ask my thoughts on various things, and this is one that comes up quite a lot.
Visiting the cemetery.
This is a biggie, and guess what? No right or wrong answer, it all comes down to your preference.
I have friends who take great comfort in going to the cemetery. It’s a place for them to go and talk to their partner, to bring the children, to meet with family and friends to remember him together.
Absolutely their choice, and I respect them totally for their decision.
For me, I can’t imagine anything worse. I have one memory of my husband at the cemetery. I watched him being lowered into the ground in a box, as everyone threw flowers on him, and then his beautiful wooden casket was covered in dirty, dark, cold mud. I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than visit.
In the early days, I went daily, at least twice a day. On my calmer days, I’d just sob silently, no words, and sit there for hours, wishing I could be in there with him. On my hysterical days, I’d lie on top of the mud wailing loudly, telling him to come back, telling him I needed him, that I couldn’t do this without him. I put fresh flowers on his grave all the time, I potted plants around his plot, I wanted it to look pretty. I wanted everyone to know he was loved.
I am not sure what the turning point was, but I just started to go less and less often. When I went back to work, I was only going in the morning and on my work home from work, taking the 20 mile detour to go twice daily. When I “snapped” and was off work, I just stopped going altogether. I just couldn’t deal with it. I had always found it upsetting, but went out of some strange sense of duty, and a feeling that visiting the grave somehow meant I was honouring his memory.
I’d loved him during his life. I’d loved him more than I've ever loved anyone in my life - surely it’s what I did when he was alive that mattered? I left silk flowers on his grave, and as I walked away, I felt so guilty for being a bad wife, but I couldn’t deal with this any more.
I planted a tree in a local woodland that allows you to plant memorial trees. This is a place we used to walk through - it wasn’t just a memorial forest, it was a national park so it was a lovely place to visit, so it made sense to put a tree here for him in a place he loved, a place we had lovely memories of.
His family very strongly disagree with my decision, and consider me to be the worst type of human being ever - one who has forgotten about her husband, showing huge disrespect to him by never visiting his grave.
Huge assumption here. I do visit his grave, just very rarely, and there is never a trace that I’ve been because I don’t leave flowers, I just wash the grave. To say that not visiting a grave is disrespectful is utter rot. We loved them in life, and we’ll love them in death, and sitting on their bones crying is not going to help one bit. In life, I gave him everything I possibly could, and to me, that’s what matters. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means you’re doing what protects you, and what feels right.
You, on the other hand, need to do what feels right for you, whatever that may be.
Sending love your way.