Monday, October 05, 2015

Things that move us

Last weekend, my husband and I made a family visit to New York State, where he grew up. When we're up there, we always make a visit to the Colgate University cemetery, to check on the graves of his mom and dad. Elwyn taught French language and literature at Colgate for something like 45 years. He passed in 2006; my mother-in-law, Grace, followed him in 2011.  They were the best in-laws you could ever want, and I miss them a lot. We have started following the custom of leaving a rock on top of the headstone to signify that we came to visit. So we did that, and headed back to the car; rain was threatening. But I had one more stop to make.

For thisis the real moment of sadness. I love Elwyn  and Grace, and I'm sorry they passed away, but i k ow they had happy, productive lives. What really moves me -- what brings tears every time I'm   there --  is the grave of a toddler named Ian, who is buried on the hillside just below them. I've done some research, so I know Ian died at the age of 20 months, and that his death, in early 2000, was unexpected and left the entire Colgate community reeling.

Beneath Ian's  name and dates is the inscription: A HUG THAT NEVER QUITS. I can  hardly imagine the anguish accompanying the sweet words. I have never  been plunged to such a depth, and I pray I never am.

After 15 years, Ian still has regular visitors. On top of the headstone was a choo-choo pull-toy. At the base of the stone was a fresh pumpkin, a small one, the size he'd have loved. I placed another stone among those already there on the top of the marker. I hope, somehow, that the boy whose hug never quit knows that his family's love never quit, either.

Rest well, Ian. I will see you again next year.

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