Memory visible: In the graveyard, the final letting go is writ

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We have met a cemetery trust representative to decide on a marker on a hill in a town he was born into and where he died. His place is on the edge of a garden bed. It’s sheltered, and a park bench is opposite the stone where the plaque will be mounted. It’s close enough for our words to float onto his name without being blown away. Of course, no gale, no gust could do that. Distance now means nothing, being without measure. We hold each other close, tears well up and fall, and we nod, yes this is the place. He’d like it here. It’s a consolation of grief for parents.


Perpetuity has a price tag, as it must, for it exists in the present day. A graveyard must be well cared for, lawns mown, garden beds maintained. And there are different tiers of mourning. The bigger the marker the greater the cost. The cosmos would wink at that. Perhaps it’s whispering too: have faith, I have more perpetuity than you’ll ever need.

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Even the grandest monuments will one day grow moss, their words chiselled down by wind and rain. All you can really ask is for a little more time. But graveyards are the great leveller. Time rubs against the skin of everyone.

This, then, is the utter last stop, where ash becomes earth, the final accounting of a life, the letting go. His ashes will go beneath the plaque – the heart, the smile, the laughter, the boy entire of love – to earth.

And within us there is the invisible, unbreakable thread without measure, the echo of love.

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