Sunday was the fourth anniversary of my husband M’s passing.  It was a bright and sunny day. It was very cold outside. I put on my black fleece jacket and drove over to the cemetery. I brought a rock to place on my husband’s gravestone.  It was a special rock. It was the rock that I had brought back from the Miraval Spa in Tucson, where I had gone in 2009 after a year of grief.  It was time for me to release this precious rock and place it by M.

I drove into the cemetery as I normally do, around the bend, around one more bend, in front of the mausoleum. There were lots of cars around, others were visiting their loved ones too. I stopped the car in my usual spot, right in front of the bench which is home to another’s very large gravestone (you can actually sit on the gravestone while you pray.)

I walked through mounds of mud left from the rainy weather.  I navigated through the musty grass, some brown, some green. There were leaves over some of the gravestones and I brushed them aside, being careful not to step on anyone’s stone.

I bent over to put my rock down on my husband’s gravestone.  I closed my eyes to pray.  My hands felt the cold grass, my hands felt more cold grass, and more and more…but, but, but my hands did not feel any cold gravestone!  There was no gravestone at his site.

“How could this be?” I said to myself.  “How is this possible?”  I know where M’s gravesite is located.  I’ve been visiting for the past four years.

I looked to the left. No M.  I looked to the right.  No M.  I walked further back.  No M.  I walked forward. No M.

“How could this be?” I said to myself, as I got in the car and drove to the cemetery office to check out the situation.

“Closed for the rest of December,” said the sign on the office door.

I drove back to the spot where I had just walked. I parked again and walked all around from end to end.  I looked and looked as the sun started to set, but there was no M gravestone to be found.

“Just go home,” said my daughter A on the phone.  “Calm down mom, and I’ll help you find it next week when I am home.  I’m sure it is right there.  You are just missing it.”

“Wherefore art thou Romeo?” I wanted to cry, “Wherefore art thou?”  It was a sunny afternoon and the Giants were playing the Redskins.  My husband M was a big Giants fan.  Perhaps he left to watch the game and his stone will be back in place later this week.  Yes, that must be it.  My forgetfulness is abundant during my life after 50, especially after many sleepless nights.

I returned home and put my special Miraval rock back on its perch on my nightstand.  I’ll place it on my beloved’s gravestone another time whenever art thou returns.