I work in the schools, so I have my summers off. I no longer travel by the cemetery every day at 4:00, the time the man at the cemetery would be there, day in and out, no matter the weather. Yet a few days ago I traveled that route and found my friend at the cemetery sitting on the ground wearing what appeared to be his normal attire: hat, button down shirt, and denim, perhaps jeans. Yes, during the hottest time of the day he was still there, visiting with his wife who no longer lives.
I have not blogged about the man at the cemetery for quite some time. I made no new observations. He was still just another person in a sea of people who go through the motions of their day grieving while those around him are oblivious to the churning tide of emotions within his soul. I have been asked by several people, though, if I have any more information on the man at the cemetery. They, too, whether through their own observations or through my blog, have come to ponder on his life and the wellness of his heart. I do have more information, but I will be respectful of the information that I have. I have done a google search of the name on the tombstone. For myself, I wanted to know the connection he so obviously shared with the person he visited every day. It is amazing and frightening what one can discover with google. It was his wife. It was possibly a remarriage. She died too soon.
But there is more… I have a friend who felt compelled to stop and speak with the man at the cemetery. Separate from my observations, he’d also pondered about the condition of the man who rarely missed a day, or multiple times a day, visiting with his departed wife. What I can’t tell you is the nature of those conversations. My friend asked that I honor the privacy of this man and his story. It may seem conflicting that I would blog so openly about my observations yet not share information that you would probably want to know, right? We all slow down on the interstate to watch the effects of a car accident, right? We turn to CNN for every word after a national tragedy. It’s only natural to want to know the nature of every bit of the conversations between my friend and the man at the cemetery. But I can’t. While he shared surface details with me, I stopped myself from asking more of the questions that I wanted answers to. You see, it’s not my story. It’s his story. The fact that he was willing to share with my friend gives me comfort that he can at least tell his story, which not everyone can. But it’s not my place to share the intimate details of his story. So, I have nothing new to add to the story of the man at the cemetery. I am sorry, but I hope you understand. He is still there. He still grieves. His story still breathes life, continuing the grieving process.
One take-away I get from this story, and its many parts, is that no matter what craziness is going on in my life, the go-go-go of my children’s activities, my friend/family/work commitments, the calendar that doesn’t seem to have room for one more thing. This I know is true: That person next to me on the bleachers at a game. That woman at the stoplight who won’t go the second the light turns green. That friend who won’t answer my calls. They all have a story, and maybe I can try to be a little more empathetic and not so quick to judge. Everyone has a story….