The Seasons of Hillside (October 2009)

If it were up to my hubby our babies would have been buried on our church property. I think it would be wonderful to go to worship every Lord’s Day with a poignant reminder of those who now worship perfectly in Heaven.

But it didn’t seem right to violate city zoning laws so we found Hillside, a lovely, old cemetery to the north of Minneapolis. A couple in our church told us about it. They buried their little boy there less than a year before. So we have a Good Shepherd congregation in miniature – a microcosm of our church – in that beautiful spot. I love to visit all three babies when I go – a reminder that even in our little church there is grief other than my own.

It’s a strange thing that the liturgy of our lives now includes visits to a cemetery. I’ve spent a lot of time in cemeteries, but it’s always been as a casual observer, wondering who the names represent, admiring the stones. Now there is a piece of me underneath a gravestone, bearing two names that Josh and I chose. If there are flowers there it’s because we brought them. Others may notice or admire it when they walk by, but that sacred spot is mine. It represents the sorrow and loss in my life. And the hope. It’s the one place where my babies are, that bears their names. God has forever changed my reality and that tiny plot at Hillside is the only earthly proof.

In April the thaw was just beginning and all was dead and brown. Then the spring and summer came and it was lush and green. Now is my favorite time – the trees are ablaze with wonderful color. This last visit with dear friends from St Louis was after the stakes had been placed in the ground, next to each plot. Soon it will all be buried in snow and there will only be a stake to show us where our loved ones are. But underneath all that snow they will still be there and the stone will still say: “Awaiting the Resurrection.”

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