I inherited two burial plots from my mother. The plots are beside those where she and my father are buried. The other plots surrounding ours are filled.
I’ve owned these plots for nearly 40 years. I told my son, when he was old enough to understand, that, if he wanted, one plot would be mine and the other could be his.
You might think, in making this offer to my son all that time ago, I had some idea of how things were going to turn out. Well, if I’m honest, I probably did.
These plots are important to me. So important I’ve had to remind my son throughout his adulthood how important they are to me. But, the older he’s grown, the less interest he’s had in knowing about our plots.
I know I’m nearing the end, so the fate of our plots grows ever more important to me. But it seems to be of less and less importance to him as my time passes.
So one afternoon, I finally confronted him.
I asked, “Do you even want your plot? The one I’ve been holding for you? The one your grandmother so graciously, so selflessly bought and passed down to me?”
My worst fear was answered when he said, “No.”
He confirmed my worst fear that I might spend eternity alone in my plot with no one else beside me.
It’s true, though I loath to admit, I’ve understood for him to occupy the plot beside mine, his life would need to end the same as mine. I’ve known for it to come to pass he’d need to forgo the custom of being buried beside a wife.
It’s not that I’ve wished the same solitude as mine for my son, but I’ve needed it. And I’m afraid, after all these lonely years, he’s come to understand how I’ve needed it.
And it pains me to know that he knows just how much I need it. And still, he rejects me.
He rejects the idea of spending his eternity buried beside me.
They’re symbolic gestures, I know. The symbolism of someone buried next to me for eternity. And his is a symbolic gesture of rejecting it.
It pains me to know there’s nobody who wishes to spend their eternity buried beside me. My son says he plans on being cremated and having his ashes scattered.
I explained, “So do I. But I’ll have some of my ashes buried too. That way there’ll be something left, at least in a headstone, to remember me by.”
Still, my son has refused, saying he doesn’t need to leave anything of himself behind.
In my anguish and disappointment, I’ve tried selling his plot. But nobody wants it. Nobody wants a single plot surrounded by the bodies and memories of people they never knew or loved.
I’ve tried selling his plot. But nobody’s interested. But, if it ever sells, I’m going to take the money and give to charity instead of giving it to him.
That will be my symbolic revenge.
Have I considered the implication of seeking revenge on my son for doing as he wishes to do? Have I considered if it’s fair to punish him for not fulfilling my expectations? Have I considered why he’s rejected the idea of spending his eternity buried beside a father who’d seek such a petty revenge?
Have I heeded his advice, spread over the decades of my loneliness, to try to find someone else to love? Someone who I might love and who might love me in return? Someone else to share enough love that, in our deaths, she might wish to remain beside me for eternity?
No. I simply cannot. I am simply too heartbroken – to anguished now – to think about any of that.
Maybe it’s not too late. I should have a few good years let.
Maybe it’s not too late. But, again, if I’m honest, I know it is and always has been.