Today I bring a picnic basket
And a heavy heart
To the top of a hill
In a quiet corner with a charming view
Beneath a friendly maple tree.
As I sit in my predetermined place
I quietly thank the maple
For the kindness is has given selflessly
To my husband and I
Sprawling branches shield me from the hot sky
And in the winter
It holds back some of the snow and ice
Protecting his stone from damage
And mine as well.
I like to come here
When I'm feeling strange about life
I always told my husband
When I felt this nostalgic fear
And he helped me through.
He can't talk to me now
But just sitting here
Helps me hear his voice
And work things through.
I only wish I could hold his hand
And feel his breath on my cheek
While I think.
I ponder over our children
While I eat my lunch
With wine glasses set out for two
I'm so proud of all they've done.
I became a grandmother a few months back
Just seeing her: another cycle starting anew
Crumbled my high pedestal of wisdom
I am so small
In such an endless continuum.
I am content
With all I've done and the time I've spent
Yet I feel that there is still much to do
I'm forever growing up
And spinning future dreams
That I aspire to fulfill,
But what saddens me the most:
I can't do it all
Before it is time to fill my predetermined place
As the years roll on
And our stones begin to crumble
And grow moss
We will slowly be forgotten
Everything I have accomplished
Will be lost.
But my life, it mattered to me
My parents, my husband, my children
It mattered to us at the time
I made an impact
And I know that's what truly counts.
I question how much time remains
As my eyes wander down the grassy hill
Dancing with butterflies
Landing on flowers left for loved ones.
It's useless to think about
Because I'll never know
It wastes precious minutes
But I do anyway.
The time I have here
As short and long as it can seem
Will be nothing but a dot
Compared to the time I will spend
In my predetermined spot
Next to my husband.
I take in the comforting splendor
Of the view this alcove offers
And feel the peace and quiet
In this special little corner
I breathe it in and wonder
If I could sleep for an eternity here.
I don't think I'd mind it
Most of all, I really just want to feel
My husband's hand in mine again
His loving gaze and kind words
His gentle touch and warm lips
If I have that once more
I don't care where they bury me.
But they'll put me here
In my predetermined place
Beside my husband;
The stone is already named
Though I still walk
The surface is smooth and unscathed
Where my death date would be framed.
It bothers some people
To have a stone when they're living
Those are the ones who fear the ending-
I know death is just part of life.
I am not scared;
This stone is just a stone
With my name
That is all.
The food and wine has induced fatigue
So I curl up in the soft grass
And drift into dreams.
My husband comes to me
He holds me close while he speaks
About how proud he is of me and our children
How the world has changed
And why he still thinks it's beautiful.
I let him talk;
He doesn't get the chance very often
And I miss his voice.
He tells me loves me when he's done
Concludes with: "Oh, and thanks for the wine"
And lets me sleep in his arms for a time.
When I wake
I stare into nothing for a while
As I savor the vision
Eventually I stand and pack up
Say goodbye to my husband and the maple tree
And leave the quiet corner with a charming view
At the top of a hill.
My heart is much lighter
My hopes much brighter-
I wear a smile as I drive away
The most beautiful place in the world
In my rearview.