Shovels of Dirt

Today is the day.

It is December 1, 2007-- the funeral is today.

Yesterday was the wake. I stood there, still in shock. I am still in shock now. I listened as people talked. It was a blur. Later, I will process the words said...but then (as now), shock and numbness are my companions. I must get through this...I have to be there for the kids. I shook hands, hugged, and cried.  My body and mind were numb. I kept thinking, I have to be strong. I had no strength. At the end of the day, I remember Bob’s friends carried me to my car.  

But today is the day.

I take the kids to the church so we can have some time alone with their dad before everyone arrives. They want to put some items in the casket with their dad. A stuffed toy loon because he loved loons. They get to say their last private goodbyes before everyone comes. I don’t want to do this.

Today is the day.

People arrive for the service. We sit in the pew. Pastor speaks. I try to listen but, again, it is mostly a blur. I know the speech is eloquent. He speaks about our lives and tells the story of Peach Roses and Blue Carnations. 

For, today is the day we say goodbye.

His casket is on a cart and they slowly push it down the aisle. The children and I follow--clinging to each other. Everyone is watching. I can feel their eyes on me...looking to see what I am feeling. I just want to shrink into myself. I want it all to go away. I don’t want to be here.  I have to be here. We have to say goodbye.  We shouldn’t be saying goodbye.

Today is that day.

It is December. Snowing….almost a blizzard. Bitter cold to match. The weather matches my mood as we move the ceremony to the grave site. It is a long drive to the cemetery. My soul aches as the procession goes on and on.  It takes forever to get there and the tears continue to fall in waves of anguish.

We all file out to sit near the gravesite. Someone takes my arm and guides me (almost carries me) to my chair. My strength is gone. It is sooo cold. Agonizingly so. It matches my mood. Once again, we listen to more words that will emphasize the loss that we are feeling. He is gone. This is it.

Today is the day.

Then, Pastor lifts the shovel and dirt falls from its edges as it enters the grave.

Psshhh

Thud

Psshh

Thud

I can hear the dirt as it hits the casket.  My heart hurts. It almost beats along with the dirt as it hits the casket.

He really is gone.

Today is the day.

I must go on. I look at my children’s faces. They are in as much shock as I am. They too hear the thud of the dirt as it hits the casket. I wonder if they feel the finality of that sound. I know in my heart that they do.

We must now walk away.  We have to leave him there.  In the cold ground, we have to leave him.  Our hearts are aching with the coldness of the weather and the loss that we feel.

Today is the day we said goodbye.

Robert L. "Bob" Elkins Jr., age 39, passed away on Wednesday, November 28, 2007. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer "Jeni"; one son; two daughters; his parents; three sisters; numerous nieces, nephews and godchildren. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. Bob was a member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. He was a 1986 graduate of Lowell High School and was employed by Vesuvius Industries. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the family for an education fund for Bob's children.

Peace and Blessings to all of you as you get through your day of saying goodbye.  

For, today is your day.

May there be comfort for you as you start on your journey.  

Jeni

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