Detours and new perceptions

The other day I had an overwhelming sense of sadness, but I could not pinpoint anything currently in my life that was troubling me. Everything is going well. My family is healthy and happy. Yet, I still couldn’t shake the melancholy feeling. Maybe it was just exhaustion from a busy week.

While running some routine errands, something in my head profoundly said “turn here.” I changed my direction, straying from the more direct route. That’s not really unusual for me. I often take random side streets and back roads to avoid traffic and for a change of scenery. I was relaxed, seemingly on autopilot, windows down, enjoying the Spring weather. I was admiring the houses and landscapes that I’ve never seen before. Then suddenly I realized I was at the entrance of Resurrection Cemetery, where my sister, Stephanie is buried.

Throughout the past 25 years I have always approached the cemetery from the east. I have never entered from the west and seen the entrance from that point of view. It’s been almost a year since I visited Stephanie’s grave. I haven’t thought much about it since then. Normally, when I visit I like to take a flower. But, there I was, unexpectedly and empty-handed. What was I doing there? This was not on my list of errands. Maybe there was a message for me.

I sat quietly and meditated, hoping to feel a connection to Stephanie. I felt peaceful, yet I also had a strong sense of emptiness and discouragement. Stephanie has been gone for a long time, and we’ve missed out on sharing so much together. I am well aware of these facts every day. I did not need that reminder. It was not helping my dismal mood. After a few minutes, I walked away questioning what brought me there.

The cemetery has a lot of winding roads. There are many different paths to take, all eventually leading to the only entrance and exit. Mindlessly, I took a different path from my normal way out.

As I drove away, I noticed memorials I had never seen before. I guess they are new.  The first one said “It’s A Beautiful Day,” I smiled. The next memorial read, “Be Happy.” I laughed and asked out loud, “Are these messages for me?” At the next turn I noticed a large marker with the name “SCHMIDT.” Ironically, that is my maiden name, but I do not have a family connection to that particular grave.

I am not sure why all three of these memorials caught my eye, or how my absent-minded detour lead me to the cemetery in the first place. I guess the universe was trying to get my attention. Things seemed a little brighter after I left. This is exactly how Stephanie lived her life. She always soaked up the sunshine and was full of laughter. I needed that reminder.



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