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Together again in ways I can't comprehend - Sing With Me If It's Just For Today...
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
guysterrules
guysterrules
Together again in ways I can't comprehend
Every time I go, I fall to my knees. It’s a reflex, really, a matter of being just that much closer. The flowers and cards and windmills, and maybe a flag, scatter around me while I kneel there for a moment, catching my breath. I’ll reach out and rub the warm marble, tracing the letters with my fingers as if that can give me explanation. It doesn’t, though.

It’d been a year since I had last been to Rose Hills. He’s not without flowers, though. I’ve made arrangements for two bundles of baby’s breath be delivered every week in my absence; one for his headstone and one for his bench. It’s a private nod to an inside joke between Billy and me.

I stopped at the park’s flower store, anticipating some clean-up needed to be done, and bought a kit that included tiny scrub brushes and some polish. On the drive up the hill, I saw all of the trappings of Christmas: tinsel, decorated trees, and the occasional temporary festive fence built around a plot. And suddenly there I was, on my knees again, this time with some flowers, a half dozen cards I’d written, and a heart-shaped balloon-on-a-stick playfully saying I Love You Now And Forever.

I licked my thumb, spit shining it around in the oval of Billy’s picture. My lips moved while I silently read the inscription. It seemed selfish to me, what the stone said, as if this whole catastrophe were about me. I felt I excluded Billy’s family and friends, that the loss was mine and mine only.

I set about polishing the headstone, which was remarkably free from grit inside its white letters, before turning my attention to the bench. The bench’s tree, once a spindly sapling, has matured into a fine full bloom, its branches providing shade. I was happy to see the brass angel on a red ribbon that I had hung two years ago had made it through another year of the elements, unharmed, hanging freely.

I unscrewed the plastic kit, took out a bottle of marble detergent, and sprayed the top of the bench. With one of the scrub pads, I carefully cleaned out each letter of the phrase, the stanza that echoed at the end of his funeral, words to one of his favorite songs.

Sing with me, sing for the years.
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears.
Sing with me if it’s just for today,
Cause maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away.

Dream on


I looked at my handiwork, the white words popping out of the black marble. I took the ten paces back to the headstone and fell to my knees, again. Talking and crying and begging for answers that will never come, I caressed the marble, the words home and wait and Guyster. I leaned down and kissed his picture, the ceramic warm on my lips from the heat of the sun. I held it for a long time until I thought someone might see me, feeling like a drunk who just fell onto a barroom floor.

Walking back to my car, I glanced back and said, “See ya again, Billy.”


headstone1
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Comments
From: pit6steve Date: January 13th, 2005 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much Terry for such a wonderful post and for sharing Billy with the rest of us.

As I wipe away the tears this morning I reflect back when everyone told me...with time it will get better. I guess it's not time yet.

Hugs Terry!!!
tedwords From: tedwords Date: January 13th, 2005 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Okay...now I have a better understanding. That is an absolutely beautiful inscription, and I don't want to even get in to the sadness right now. It's clear you loved him an awful lot.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: January 13th, 2005 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
One of the many pleasures of your journal is reading about you and Corb.
tedwords From: tedwords Date: January 14th, 2005 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Do you see similarities?
quuf From: quuf Date: January 13th, 2005 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad the tree is flourishing. Do you happen to know what kind it is?
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: January 13th, 2005 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
You'd think I would know. I'll have to find out as it seems to be an important detail I've overlooked.

Thanks, Q.
ruralrob From: ruralrob Date: January 13th, 2005 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I feel like I've just been on quite a remarkable pilgrimage. Very moving. Thank you for taking me with you, td.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: January 13th, 2005 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Rob. You've been with me a long time. I appreciate it very much.

I'm certain to repeat myself just as the thoughts and images continue to replay themselves on a constant loop.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 13th, 2005 05:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's beautiful. I love that he has a tree growing.

And yet I'm so sorry that it has to be there at all.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: January 13th, 2005 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
You and me both. I love the tree but I can't believe I'm even there.
kishenehn From: kishenehn Date: January 13th, 2005 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
*giant hug*
cricketshay From: cricketshay Date: January 13th, 2005 05:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
My journal has issues and I hadn't read your post before I wrote mine about death. I'm crying now as I write this comment. I hope someday I love someone as deeply and purely as you love Billy. I think it's beautiful. My soul weeps for you T.

Can I ask you a question? How did he die? I've always wondered. *hugs* I'm so glad you have Joe in your life and you're not alone.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: January 13th, 2005 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Shay, you might want to read my User Info page. It's interesting we both wrote about similar issues today, albeit from different angles.
cricketshay From: cricketshay Date: January 13th, 2005 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've never read that entry. I'm soooo sorry. *more hugs*
ladycakes From: ladycakes Date: January 13th, 2005 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
There was an album by Everclear that was dedicated to Brent and I am unable to listen to it. I admire the way you are able to honor your grief when I jusrt run away from it and pretend it doesn't exist.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: January 13th, 2005 11:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't honor my grief as much as write about it endlessly because I don't know what else to do. What else can I do?
ladycakes From: ladycakes Date: January 13th, 2005 11:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know. I guess since I wasn't there when Brent died it's easier to pretend it never happened. I literally ran away and tried to forget him. I can't say it's been the healthiest way of dealing with it.
(Deleted comment)
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: January 13th, 2005 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're right. He's never gone, but he has just slipped away from the ways I understand, skipping into the colors I can't see.
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