My mother-in-law is in the hospital. It doesn't seem to be anything too serious but this is the second night that they are keeping her. As I was coming home from my weekly trip to my grandmother's house, I figured I'd wait the 30 minutes for Jeremy to get off work and we could go see her at the hospital together rather than each going at separate times.
I thought about going to the library to kill some time, but Henry was asleep and I knew that if I woke him up, he was going to be far from pleasant to be around. So I sat in the parking lot for awhile listening to Christmas music (yes, I'm that crazy person) on the radio and just thinking awhile. For once it seemed like I'd thought up everything there was to think about and I literally was trying to think about things to think about just to occupy my time.
For some reason I felt the need to visit the cemetery close by. I don't personally know anyone buried there, but I know of a few people, so I decide to pay their graves a visit. Maybe this was brought on by my finishing 'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Green that is about a group of teenagers (mainly two) with cancer (fictional, young adult, genius author). It has a lot of thoughts about death, especially when it comes to children dying (from cancer in this case) before their parents.
It's hard to think about really and I didn't even realize I was thinking about it until I got there. I drove around for a minute as it's a fairly large cemetery. I have a horrible memory sometimes but I'm great when it comes to directions and I recognized the area where the people that I know of were buried.
I dug in my purse for some change, got out of my car and made my first visitation to one of my husband's best friends in high school. I didn't have anything to say, not because I couldn't say anything but because I don't really believe that the dead can hear us. I didn't stay there long. I didn't know John although at times I feel like I could have, he was killed in a car accident before he or my husband had even graduated high school. I left the change on his tombstone, something that my husband had told me was tradition when visiting him there and walked away.
A few yards away is the section of the cemetery dedicated specifically for babies. When I think about visiting these tiny graves, it feels so different to be there, so humbling and heart-wrenching all at once.
Because my baby isn't there but there are so many others - many of which whose tombstones have only one date.
So I walked by each tombstone, reading the date(s), taking note of the hotwheel cars, little dolls and various toys that were left by loved ones and I cried. I cried like I had lost my own child although I had not. I cried because I thought of my mother-in-law and what it must have felt to lay a child here.
And then there was his grave.
Corey Kenneth Ovenshire
And I cried harder because I cannot imagine losing my child, especially in the way that my mother-in-law lost hers. Corey had been strangled to death as he was coming into this world. His umbilical cord had wrapped around his neck so tightly that the very thing that had given him life while growing in the womb had taken it as well.
I thought about never hearing that first cry and seeing this perfectly formed little human for the very first time without life. It would kill me. Knowing that it didn't kill her makes me respect her strength even more.
But I think what made me the saddest, the thing that tore at my heart the most, was the lack of love for this little tombstone. It was dirty, without any toys or decorations. I understand why. My mother-in-law has two perfect children who have a husband and a wife and who have given her three perfect grand-children. She cannot dwell on Corey whose life was clearly not meant for this world. But still it made me sad and I wished at that moment that I had one of Henry's cars to leave for the uncle that he will never know.
When I got back to the car, it was all I could do to compose myself. I found myself pleading with God to never take a child away from me - that I could never do it and that if He had plans to take one of mine, that he just HAD to take me too. I thought about all the parents that have lost a child, the mothers who didn't get to kiss their little faces every night and I hurt for them - really, really hurt for them.
I hope I never have to stand in their shoes, but for a moment, it was almost like I did.