It was Bob’s choice to be buried at Eden, but it was a choice that wasn’t easily made. It was something he didn’t want to face. He didn’t want to be buried anywhere, he wanted to live. I couldn’t blame him, I felt the same. But at long last he made a decision. “I want to be buried near your father,” he said.
My father, always one to be prepared, had long ago bought his plot. It was closest to the entrance, the first land to be sold.
“I like it ‘cause it overlooks the road to Vegas,” he had joked.
But now the land available was up the curving hillside near the top, much more beautiful but costly. There were two shady spots against a slumpstone wall. They lay beside a family plot where roses climbed along the stone. Another site was further up and open to the wind. I chose the first. It would see the rays of sunshine in the morning, and be shaded from the mid-day heat. It faced the East; he could rise to greet Jesus should he come.
I chose a rosewood casket and Bob lay beneath the blanket he had slept with on the chair. He wore a plaid two pocket shirt; I always had to buy them with two pockets, it was what he needed for his “stuff.” He wore the Caterpillar baseball cap he often wore in life. He was still fine-featured handsome.
A huge tent was set up at the graveside to shield the mourners from the sun; most years we get no rain at all in May. But this time it was different, the skies were leaden gray. We sat on chairs set up within the tent as services proceeded. The flag that draped the coffin was folded and a soldier placed it in my hands. The buglers, under darkening clouds, played Taps.
As the coffin was descending the rain began to fall and the wind began to howl. It was like a small tornado, the chairs were blown all over and the guests knocked off their feet. With hands in front of faces, people tried to shield from the debris. Some clung to the tenting, which was partly ripped away.
And then the coffin hit the ground. The rain stopped. The wind stopped. It was unearthly still. I shoveled dirt into the grave, and the others did the same.
Goodbye my love, my heart, my life, until we meet again.
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