I have always hated to discuss my own death, I refuse to discuss with Gary what his service might be like after he is gone as well. That goofy man, has requested that he be taped leading his favorite songs, so that he can lead singing at his own funeral. Of course his favorite songs would make for a 45 minute song service. I have always insisted to him that I get to die first, so that I never have to be without him. When he tells me that we have no control over that, I remind him that I've taken it up with the Lord, and that's the end of it.
I would have never dreamed at 30, that I would spend a Friday evening, walking around the cemetery at Little Union attempting to pick out plots for our family. Little Union is home, and has always been very laid back about the graveyard. The Church doesn't sell the plots, but makes them available to pretty much anyone, so we mostly could choose anywhere, a few of the members and families have "claimed" spots and it's noted on the plat book, but there is alot of space out there behind the Church. Of course both of Gary's grandparents have a number of plot set aside for the family, and we could have used any of those - and we did look at both the Varnum and the Cunningham spots. If they had been more or less side by side, we would have picked right between them, but as it worked out, they were on opposite sides of the graveyard. As we walked around trying to make this monumental decision before sunset, I was again drawn to the back corner of the Church yard. I've always thought that corner was really pretty, there is this giant live oak back there with twisted branches, the kind that might be perfect for a rope swing. It's toward the end of the stretch of Varnum plots, in a quiet by itself spot, out of the impromptu half circle that we have used for years to drive around the cemetery. Because Little Union marks off graves in sections of four, we marked one for Gary, one for me, and one for Abigail. There is a fourth there, that Gary said he prayed wouldn't be used till long after we are gone. Neither of us hopes to have to experience this gut wrenching, heart crushing, life altering event ever again.
Today, we went to pick out Abigail's stone. The lady who runs the company there, and has for many years, was incredibly gracious and patient (not to mention only charging half or a third of what other companies seem to). Gary and I knew that we wanted to get this done as soon as possible. Both because I couldn't bear the idea of her grave being unmarked, but also because we won't be back down here for some time, most likely. Despite that, it took me some time to try to make the necessary decisions. I'm not good at making decisions on the fly anyway, but since last Monday, since losing Abigail, I have felt like every decision is stressful, and it's just been harder to decide anything. While settling on her stone, I told Gary that later on, after we have a job and are back on our feet, I want to go ahead and order ours and have it installed. I think that I might like the design to be similar to hers. I think it took Gary a bit by surprise, it was so unlike me. Hopefully we won't have need of it for many, many years, but it just seems like something that should be handled.
And perhaps that is really the biggest change that I have experienced since last Monday. I now know from a very painful reality that a positive pregnancy test does not equal a healthy fat baby with the trademark Cunningham ears that stick out like you wouldn't believe. That death isn't reserved for those who have lived full and long lives. That while I complain to no end when Gary calls me ma'am, because 1) I'm his wife not his momma, and 2) I'm not old yet. That despite my complaints I'm going to one day die too, and I am closer each day to it. While I have known all of these things for a long time, I now feel the truth of them, and it was a feeling that I could have lived without.