Health Update: I completed my 19th cycle of IV chemotherapy and am on my 20th cycle of oral chemotherapy. My oncologist has discontinued steroid therapy due to high glucose levels, but I’m not complaining, steroids are the worst! Counts remain below normal but stable, so I’ll take it. Overall a very good report, Praise the Lord!
There are a couple of cemeteries close to where I live. Small, old and kept up just enough to not have weeds growing over the headstones. A chain link fence borders the area with a gate that is always open. Unlike most cemeteries I’ve seen, this one doesn’t get decorated on special holiday’s with sprays of flowers for mom’s, dad’s or even veterans. Living in the area for over fourteen years, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen a single visitor, it otherwise seems completely deserted. It’s because it seemed so deserted that when I started seeing a regular visitor it caught my attention.
He was an elderly man, tall, gray hair but often wore a hat. It didn’t matter what time of day I passed he was there. Whether I was taking the kids to school in the morning or picking up my children after school, going to the store or church, he was there, sitting beside a fresh mound of dirt. On rainy days, I would find him sitting in a lawn chair, holding an umbrella and on hot days he’d still be there but when the lawn chair was empty, I would see him sitting in his car, probably cooling off in the air conditioning from sitting out for hours in the sun. Besides his chair, I frequently saw a fresh bouquet of flowers.
I couldn’t help but wonder why he was there, who was he visiting and what had happened? My first guess was it was his beloved wife and that they’d probably been high school sweethearts and been married a very long time. But each time I passed, I prayed for him and his broken heart regardless of his story.
One Saturday afternoon, on our way to church, there he was and I had a heart-compelling, now or never feeling that I needed to stop right then and speak to him. If I said nothing, I had to at least tell him that I was praying for him. I asked Chris to pull into the cemetery and reluctantly, he did. Nearly jumping out of the car, I walked up to the elderly man, with my hand out to shake his and said, “Hello, sir? My name is Amy and I’ve been passing this cemetery for over two months and you are here each and every time. I don’t know what your story is or who you are here visiting, but you must have loved them so very much. And I want you to know that each time I passed, I prayed for you and that God would comfort you.” Taking my hand, and tears in his eyes, he said, “I’m Chippy, my wife called me Chippy. She was my best friend and love of my life.” Chippy went on to tell me a little bit about their love story. He drove a long distance every day to sit by her final resting place. They’d bought their plots when they lived in town but had moved farther out in recent years. He went on to say that he knew she was in Heaven with Jesus and that he would see her again one day, but that he missed her so much. I told him that I hope she knew how much he loved her because what he does each and every day has shown me the love he had for her and that I can only hope to be loved that much some day. As I said goodbye, I asked if I could give him a hug and told him that I would continue to pray for comfort and peace. He thanked me for stopping and for praying.
I never saw Chippy again. Not in the morning or the afternoon. Not in the spring, summer or fall. No evidence of a fresh bouquet of flowers on her stone. I’m not sure if the stop at the cemetery was more for him or for me that day, but what I do know is that I saw love in action, when nothing else could be expected or returned, he loved anyway.
There is a new grave where Chippy sat. One day, I may just have to stop and see if Chippy is again with the “love of his life.”
The scripture below is in memory of my Great- Grandfather, William Sebastian Klumpp February 8, 1882 – January 1, 1976. His favorite book of the Bible was 1 John. Pictured here with me, and my brothers, Areon and Jason.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7
Life, Love & Cancer Ribbons,