A few years ago my Aunt died. She is my mom’s oldest sister, and for my large family, there will forever be a missing piece.
Part of the Triangle is driving from Minneapolis to Rochester. I always take the same route from my parents house, because I’ve tried them all and this one is the fastest. I head toward 55, over the river and on to 52 heading southeast. I feel like I’ve done this drive a million times.
Last Wednesday, March 3rd I did this drive again. This time I noticed something different. I crossed over the bridge and felt a different kind of familiarity. I glanced over the edge of the bridge and remembered that I was right by Fort Snelling, a historic fort we used to tour every few years in school. Then I remembered this beautiful park I biked and hiked through a few times a couple of summers ago. Next I remembered that you could see the cemetery where Linda was buried from that park. All the pieces came together. The airport, the park and that cold spring morning our huge motorcade crossed that bridge and wound up the hill to the cemetery.
I quickly took the next exit, and without thinking drove toward where the cemetery rested on the hill overlooking the airport. It’s a huge place, but I had no trouble picking which path led to Linda’s site. I parked the car and got out, but the place was covered in about 3 feet of snow. The Christmas wreaths still floated about the snow pack, and there were a few remnants of people who had visited their friends or family – a half melted snowman with a child’s scarf, a tiny Christmas tree.
I stood for a minute, remembering the day my family came here with Linda, and the days and years she fought cancer, until it finally won. I thought about my huge family, and how much I love them. I got back in my car, telling myself I’d be back when the snow melts.
As I continued the drive to Rochester, I thought about how strange it was that I have traveled this path so many times and never realized the cemetery was there. I thought about how sometimes things just come to us. I thought more about those days in March of 2007 and had an odd feeling. What day in March was it that she died? I feel like it was early March, like today, the 3rd. I went home to dig up her funeral booklet out of the place where I keep things like that, and double checked the dates. She died on March 3rd, 2007, exactly 3 years prior to my rediscovery of the cemetery.
I can’t explain it and I don’t know what it means, but there is something really special about this.