We find ourselves surrounded by closures of stores, restaurants, movie theaters, parks and beaches. Those are the closures we can tangibly see but there are so many more emotional situations we are closed off from. The one I’m feeling heavier than any other is a certain aspect of closure with the loss of a loved one and it’s echoed in the news. People are falling ill and dying without being able to see their family. Funerals and services are on pause and what would be normal grieving planned event timelines are now being stretched to a new schedule. How sad they can’t move through the closure of service sooner but I very much understand where they lay in limbo.
Clayton passed away 2 years ago and we still haven’t had a service for him. Shortly after he passed his mother had a stroke and was moved up to her family cross-country. She was in no position to handle having a service for him. A year later there was a last minute desire to have it on his birthday with no notice to family and friends. There was no way we could pull it off. I’d have to drive his urn up to Illinois or ask the funeral home to ship him. The thought of mailing my dead partner and the risks that his urn would break makes me physically ill. I said no.
Now his birthday is approaching. There’s talk of having the service this year but the country has been in closure. Things are slowly opening but what happens if we shut down again? His mother is in poor health. Does bringing people together to celebrate his life risk hers? He wanted to be buried next to her. Do we just wait? That’s an uncomfortable thought to wait for her to die to finally hold a service for him. It would feel different if he wanted me to keep him but until I can fulfill his wishes. This is a new patch of widowed weeds growing in my garden of grief.
All our gardens grow differently as we tend to them in our own unique ways. Trimming back encroaching vines full of thorns, raking up the leaves of fallen dreams, removing the dead brush, watering the new seeds in hope they grow and fill the empty spaces left from our past. We used to be allowed out to walk our new paths to just check in on our garden here and there depending on the day. Now I am locked in unable to get rid of the old debris. I find myself quarantined from a milestone in my closure surrounded by a garden of grief.