GRAVE ETERNITY

I usually drive past the cemetary and wave to my memories. I don't want to go without lowers,l ike going empty handed to a dinner party. I want to pay my respects, but I feel like I don't have appropriate feelings. I don't cry or fall on the ground and hug it. I get distracted by the other markers. Who's new since last time? It's like I'm made of granite. This time I stop, empty-handed, my first visit since Larry's funeral. I park the car and walk down the hill toward the tree by the fence where my daughter is buried. There are quite a few new ones. Black granite markers with sparkling white print. "1906 - 2001. 1957 - 2002. I walk over lots of graves and markers, and then I find her. I brush the dirt off her stone. The letters aren't white and sparkling any more. They don't jump out at you like they did when they were new. I don't want her to be an old grave. I want to keep her warm. "Suzanne Lynn Goldstein, 1964 - 1992 - ETERNAL SPIRIT." No Jewish star, no beloved this or that. No wife or mother or beloved daughter, or sister - just simply "spirit". Like her art, she belonged to the world. Every other marker says beloved wife, mother, sister, and aunt, like you belong to this family. All the Jewish stars would be inappropriate for Suzy. We are unobservant, secular Jews.

I try to stay with Suzy, but how long can I look at a stone? Birds are chirping and I know she isn't there anyhow,. Now I'm looking for Larry. But what's this? "Pearl Chizen 1912- 1997 - Beloved Mother and Grandmother." When I wasn't looking he slipped my ex mother in law into this place, that sneaky bastard. One of the perks in divorcing that husband was losing that mother - in-law. They seem to mix her with my family like curdled cream in coffee. She doesn't mix. The thing is, I bought a plot for me too in this place - nearby. I'm not sure where. Am I going to end up buried next to the ex-mother-in-law to sleep together forever? Cremation is becoming more appealing to me. Here he is, my Larry, toe to head with Pearl Chizen. He never knew her in his lifetime. This is so wrong. Suzy didn't even like this grandmother. And now I'm thinking, "Has Arnold bought more plots here? Are we going to end up in the dirt together?" I'm thinking how cautious one has to be about with whom one has children. One false move can tie you together through all of eternity.