Almost immediately after burying my young husband, I became obsessed with obtaining his headstone. The idea of his grave barren, save for the temporary funeral home placard and a floral arrangement, caused me great discomfort. I needed his resting place to reflect his significance to me; I needed it to represent the burning love I had/have for this man lying below six feet of soil.
I dropped into the best monument company in the area mere days after burial. As an aside, I will say that many widdas take their time with the headstone purchase due to budget constraints, a wish to research more before selecting one, or perhaps this is a step that feels too final, and they aren’t prepared to face it just yet.
Both approaches are normal. Allow no one to tell you differently.
As I was saying, for me, I had this insatiable desire to get it ordered and underway. (Especially after learning that it typically takes around three to over six months from the time you order it to the time it will actually be set). I settled on an opulent black granite with golden flecks throughout–when sunlight hits the flecks, they appear to dance. My husband loved plain black accessories, such as his wallet. I admire anything that shimmers and shines. This granite was a perfect combination of him and me.
I chose his scripture epitaph, and had a graphic artist sketch out a wind turbine design that would appear on his stone. (My hubs was a windmill farm manager; he loved few things better than being up a windmill tower). I also added two cornerstones bearing his initials to mark the bottom corners of his grave. I was so desperate to get his headstone that I paid double–yes, dammit, double–to get it in faster. This was my last gift to him. I wanted it to “count” and I wanted no more delays than necessary.
With all that picked and paid for, all I had to do was wait.
And then wait some more.
The monument company kept giving me differing dates of estimated completion, shipping, and the setting date. I was so bereft and out of my mind by then that I did something I’m not proud of. I cursed out the monument company owner during one of my weekly calls! I can imagine the owner was tiring of my need for updates, and she got sassy with me. Oh, no, she di’n’t! Things quickly became heated from there, and she put down the phone when I dropped the F-bomb.
His headstone ended up being set on what would have been his 38th birthday. It really was my last gift to him–birthday, or otherwise. What surprised me was just how bittersweet it was seeing his stone being set. It was finally here, it was beautiful, and I was grateful…but the realization sunk in that there was nothing further I could ever buy for my husband.
This was it.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.— 2 Timothy 4:7 (My husband’s scripture epitaph).