Grief to Beauty

“His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth, His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden.” (Habakkuk 3:3b,4)

I went to the grave this morning to replace the once pink geraniums and withered vines with a mum plant, bursting with soft purple blossoms, one I knew Mama would have loved.
I hadn’t been to the grave in weeks, an unusual break of custom for me, but after months of faithful visits, tending and watering the summer blooms, often crying, and always reminiscing, a persistent grief had encompassed me, a grief I had been trying to shake by avoiding the tradition. So on this crisp autumn morning, I faced grief in order to bring beauty.

The little country cemetery was quiet. Sunshine flooded the diamonded dew.

As I stopped the car, close to the grave site, two old wild turkeys left low branches of a century-old maple at the edge of the cemetery and flew a short distance to the ground, their heavy bodies lighting not far from Mom and Dad’s grave.

I wondered how many times Mom and Dad had seen these very birds from the kitchen window of their yellow house – across the road from this cemetery – in their daily rituals of watching families of turkeys roam the countryside. I wondered if these two turkeys had followed Mom and Dad to their final resting place, perhaps waiting their own time to pass, as well. They fled when I lifted the latch gate, took the plant, and walked the few, somber steps to the stone.

Together Forever, I read.

“Mama, Daddy,” I cried, as I had so many times before.

As I grieved, I stepped behind the stone and discovered that since my last visit,the bronze plaque had been set in place, the honor bestowed Daddy by the Veterans Administration. I pulled out my cell phone and took a picture of it to send to my sister, but it wasn’t until after I later opened the electronic picture that I saw the rays of sun flooding over the tombstone and into my lens.

I considered the “splendor” of the morning and the sun rays that “flash from his hand.” I was reminded of his “power”– the power that lifted the very souls from Daddy and Mama’s aged bodies; the power that will one day lift those broken bodies out of that grave and transform them into perfect models of their once young, vibrant beings; the power that will bring us all together again; “His divine power” that “has given us everything . . . and has given us his very great and precious promises . . .” (1 Peter 1:4). . .

and the power that consoles my grief in order to bring beauty.