There are many places I feel his presence, but I do not visit his grave. I've never seen his headstone, never traced my fingers over his name in the cold granite, never sat upon the grass covering the earth above his ashes.
I can't say I never will because I don't do nevers, but I probably won't. Bob didn't expect that I would. He didn't create that place for my benefit. He told me he wouldn't be there, and for me, he isn't.
His children never ask to go, and when I've offered to take them, they say they don't want to go. He isn't there for them, either.
It's odd because I typically like cemeteries. I love the history, the stories told by the headstones, and the calm, quiet found there.
But, I like them better when they are mysterious puzzles, places I can go to enjoy like a park or museum.
That's not where I want to go to spend time thinking about Bob. And I don't schedule my time with him. I don't schedule my thoughts about him. I don't plan a long drive to "see" him. I feel him and miss him and think about him when I need to, at any time.
Or I'm blindsided by my grief, as often happens with this grief business. Like today, when I was cleaning off the top of the refrigerator at the old house. Every single corner of that house has been cleaned, but somehow the back most portion of the top of the refrigerator was missed. a few papers remained. I pulled the fridge out to retrieve them and found just enough paper to send me out the back door, flat onto my back on the cold concrete, staring up at the clouds, tears streaming down my cheeks.
What remained atop the fridge was a pile of pharmacy papers describing Bob's prescriptions from his very first round of chemo and a hand-made card that Peanut had given him for Father's Day.
Sometimes, grief is an asshole, a necessary asshole, and it just can't be found at a graveside. It has to be found on top of a refrigerator that should have already been clean. And the place you find the person you miss is in the folds of a piece of construction paper, under the sky you used to share together, behind the house you bought together, the week you got married, seventeen years earlier. Sometimes, that.