Until she sobbed, we didn’t see her, even though just a few paces separated us.
We stood staring at the stone that marks the tandem grave of my Nan and Pop, he a veteran of World War II, she a veteran of raising four ‘adopted’ boys — my brothers and me. We stood amidst many acres of such stones in the fields where a grateful nation provides a measure of lasting dignity for the men and women who suffered innumerable indignities in the defense of liberty.
As I clasped my daughter’s hand and murmured ‘Has it really been seven years since Nan died?’ grief overflowed with the stifled sob behind us.
We turned to see a grey, hooded form kneeling, bent, clutching a cold stone marker, trembling. We could not see her face, nor the name on the stone that she wrapped in a desperate embrace. The ground was wet with snowmelt, and she knelt on something black. She had brought it with her for that purpose.
She had come to kneel, and to weep and to grieve and to pour out the bitterness from her longing heart.
She came to mourn.
My instinct was to go to her, and offer some words of comfort, but something restrained me. As if a voice said, “She came to mourn. She needs to mourn. Let her mourn.”
I took the picture because I never want to forget.
I share it with you for the same reason.