When we first realized that we had the painful task of choosing where our baby should be buried, it was somewhat of a quandary. We have never planned to stay in Arkansas. Our families live out west, and it has always seemed like that's where "Home" is. How could we bury Benjamin here, only to leave him behind later on?
Gratefully, the Spirit prompted me to remember pioneer ancestors who buried babies on the plains and had to immediately continue westward. I cannot even imagine the agony that would be. At least we have some time here first, to be able to visit often for a while! Also we know that this will only be a resting place for him in mortality, and we will have all eternity to be with him someday. Realizing these things consoled us somewhat as we decided to have him buried here. I hope that by the time we do move away, it will not seem like the wrenching pain that it would be right now.
While I was in Arizona in the first few weeks after Benjamin's death, I took the opportunity to try to get his headstone designed. I knew I wanted a picture of the Mesa Temple on it, and I didn't think that would be easy to come by out here. With the help of my mom and sisters, we settled on a design. . . .only to come back to Arkansas and find out that the cemetary had specific rules that the marker must be made of bronze. The AZ company dealt only with granite, so now we were back at square one.
Eventually that all got worked out, but meanwhile my parents had an idea. Why not purchase the granite stone we had designed and create a monument on their property? It would be a place where we could always visit, even after we move away from Arkansas. My parents own their property outright and plan never to move, so this would be a permanent place to be able to sit and remember this beloved angel son/grandson.
They asked what we thought of this idea, and of course we LOVED it. The tender generosity of it still overwhelms me.
So they selected a spot near a giant sandstone boulder in their yard, and purchased the granite marker we had designed.
My brother Douglas, who is now on a mission in Costa Rica, dug a huge hole, so that they could plant a special tree to shade the spot. I love that we can watch it grow over the years, and think about our baby and when we will get to watch him grow. :) Mom planted a "ball willow", a beautiful tree that grows well in the high desert.
We were fortunate to be there for the final steps. Dad borrowed a diamond-tipped saw blade to cut into the sandstone, and we got to help him chisel out a spot for the granite.
It felt so good to work on something for Benjamin! Dad and DC did most of the chiseling and cutting, but I did some, too.
Testing to see if the stone fits. . . .
It didn't yet. A couple of days later, though, the chiseling was done, and a near-perfect spot had been carved out. They hefted the granite into place, and then Dad used liquid nail to seal it into the stone.
I planted zinnias and some white petunias around the special tree.
What an amazing gift, to have this place always to be able to visit and to watch his tree grow! Thank you ever so much, Mom and Dad! I love you.