Entering a cemetery can be oddly comforting. The sea of tombstones tells you that your loss is part of something so clearly inevitable, that thousands of others feel pain just the same yours, that somehow death is part of life and it’s all OK.
But then you find the tombstone you came to see and the name “Deborah Hubbard Christensen” etched so permanently in granite, and it hits you like a sucker punch. She’s gone. And all those other tombstones don’t make it any better.
Colin’s mom passed away over 2 years ago now and this was the first time I had been back to see her grave in South Africa. I hadn’t known her long but she made an indelible impression on everyone she knew. She was sensitive, compassionate, graceful, loving, and intuitive and would have made one hell of a grandmother to Caleb. Her friends called her a “spiritual giant” and not just one of them confided to me that she had saved their lives in one way or another. She had a calling to help people heal. Colin simply worshiped her.
I didn’t know her long but some of my tears where simply for that. Others were from watching my son playing among the tombstones, oblivious to his loss. Still others were from watching her son - my husband - hunched over at the foot of her grave, feeling the full and agonizing weight of his loss.
It was a powerfully sad and poignant moment.
Just as we left the cemetery the blue sky turned a deep almost purplish gray and rain gently poured down on us, as if to wash away our sadness. And this is exactly what she would have wanted to do.