Matthew's Pictures

April 2, 2009

Visiting Matthew

Yesterday, I went and visited with Matthew for the first time since he died. I had been wanting to for over a week but kept putting it off, maybe waiting for the right time. I wanted to go without the kids for the first time, not knowing what I would be feeling upon being back at the cemetary. I can imagine Raleigh throwing a fit because he wants to see the big "hole" that Matthew is in.

His grave is in a newer section of the cemetary, actually the Veteran section. My grandfather, who is still alive, is a vet. He and my grandmother have spaces in there for when they pass. My aunt (g-pa's daughter) died of leukemia several years ago, and they had her moved next to their spaces. We are glad that he is in with family and the arrangements worked out very well for the situation.

Tears started streaming down my face as I drove to the back. I don't recall ever visiting anyone's grave in my life and hoped to be the only one there. I pulled off to the side where Matthew is and noticed a tent with chairs not far from where I was at. There was a table in the front where a casket would soon be placed. At each end of the table silently and still, stood two soldiers. I thought about how sad they must be feeling to have to bury one of their own. I hoped in my mind that whoever he was, got to lead a loving and fulfilling life knowing Christ.

I walked over to Matthew, noticing the small patch of grass that covered him. There was also a new sign. It was small and plastic, marking who he is until we order a bronze setting.

Matthew A. Harden

Such a short life. I wondered if anyone else had noticed him. I had hoped so. The flowers we left after the ceremony were gone. It had been a few weeks, so I'm sure they were very dried out by now and the grounds workers cleaned them up for us.

I knelt down next to the fresh sod and spoke to the Lord, thanking him once again for my precious son. My tears were falling to the ground as I wept silently. I'm sure Matthew saw every one of them from above and could feel the love. I felt a bit rushed, not wanting to be in the way if the funeral precession were to come my way. I looked back and noticed that the soldiers had moved from their place by the table, on to the roadside behind me. They were standing there ever so still in position, out of respect for me and my son. I got up and brushed the dirt off my knees, and just thought about my Matthew for a few minutes, wishing I had brought him something cheery. As I walked back to the car, the soldiers walked back to their position at the ends of the table. I didn't know those gentlemen, but I was very proud of them, and I'm sure their fellow soldier would have been as well. My time was my son was very important, and their actions showed that they understood that.


carebear said...

This is why my husband part of the colorguard unit voluntarily. Did I ever tell you he was in the military? They used to just play a cd and one of the guys would "fake" playing taps. But my husband refused to do that. He said if they were being buried with full honors...then they deserved the full honor. He went out with our own money and purchased a bugle and taught himself Taps. (a little bit of his middle school band experience coming back to his aid). Matthew is a soldier of a different kind and deserves their respect as much as the one they were originally there for. I'm glad you got to spend some alone time with your son. I'm sure he was happy to see you.

Stacy D said...


Still praying for you guys. Those visits to the cemetery are so hard.

Isaac's temporary marker is still there, but his permanent marker is in and should be placed soon. His temporary marker, under his birthday, reads, "Age" 16 minutes".

My heart just sinks into my stomach every time I read that. 16 minutes. It just seems to short... because it is.

Please know that your sweet Matthew is an absolutely beautiful baby boy. Please also know that I am praying for you and your family... and I am here any time.

~ Stacy

mrsrubly said...

i know your matthew was looking down happily on his mother, weaping for him, showing your motherly love for him. i hope you are doing ok, as well as can be expected. still praying for you. your son is just perfect in every way. i loved the slide show that you added to your page.

Chelsea Pang said...

You'll love to have Matthew's name in the sand! It took her about 6 weeks to write ours so just be patient...her service is such a blessing.
Also another idea you may want to consider is one of the boxes that Megan does from I ordered one for my friend's deceased baby's upcoming birthday.

Donielle said...

Wow, tears streaming as I read this. I'm sure that had to be hard to go there for the first time. That made me feel good to know that the soldiers were so respectful of you.

Laura said...

So hard to go to the cemetary...I am proud of you. So hard to face the reality of what has happened. I am so sorry you are having to do this.

Sending love,

j3k said...

I noticed your comment about wondering if anyone would notice him in the cemetary. I was one to never go visit anyone but over the last year I have taken up walking. A little neighbor boy and I like to walk frequently (actually his parents own our local funeral home). We go to the cemetary and walk there because there is a lot less traffic and it is so peaceful and calming. There are so many people that walk there. My little guy and I walk through the cemetary and we will talk about different people and we look at the names and dates on all the stones. We clean off ones that haven't been visited in a long time and we say little prayers for all the baby graves that we come to. I have taught him to pray for all the moms, dads and siblings no matter how many years ago it may have been. I'm sure wherever you live someone walks through there just taking a random stroll and every once in awhile they will pause at Matthew's and say a few extra prayers for you and if there anything like me a tear will well up in their eye. My heart breaks a little bit more for each and every parent that has had to endure such loss. Prayers for you.

Hearts and Hugs