The gravel crackled under the tires of Kathleen’s car as she drove into Sedona Memorial Cemetery.
Kathleen looked around her. God, this is barren, she thought.
She remembered the large cemeteries in her home state of California, with their massive beds of roses and statues of Jesus Christ, His arms open as if gathering in His flock. Even though Kathleen felt the religious aspect was a bit contrived, the graveyards there somehow gave a sense of comfort to the living.
But this cemetery was different. Here, the wind howled through the juniper trees, and the sound echoed back from the high red rock cliffs at the edge of the graveyard. There was no comfort here, only the raw elements of nature.
As she drove slowly through the cemetery, she noticed grave sites encased in short brick or red rock stone walls, showing off faded silk flowers stuck in the red dusty earth to commemorate those who lay beneath. Other grave sites looked well-kept with decorative rock placed inside the walls, holding down the red dust. Junipers dotted the area, adding the only green to mute the stark rust-colored ground.
Kathleen drove to the end of the road to the Buckley grave site. She parked in front of the well-built red rock wall imbedded with a bronze plaque. The name Buckley stood out in capital letters.
She sat for a moment staring at the name so revered in Sedona. It was June, two months since Scott’s funeral and this was her first visit to his grave. She wanted to come sooner but was afraid to face his death and all that it meant to her life.
Kathleen got out of her car and paused before climbing up the steps to Scott’s grave, surveying the surrounding area. This was the last grave site in the cemetery, next to the area where vaults hold cremated remains. A large tin shed stood off to the left and a piece of metal from the shed rattled in the wind, making the cemetery sound as forlorn as it looked.
She climbed up the three steps, not wanting to do what she knew she must, confront her loathing. Despite her feeling of shame at her behavior at Scott’s funeral, Kathleen hoped her emotional release there would make her feel whole again, but it had not. Perhaps, she could shuck off this passion here, and lay her malice to rest along with Scott.
The Buckleys had buried four of their own here: Helen and Lawrence Buckley, Scott’s parents. Morgan Buckley, Scott’s first wife, lay next to Scott. A slight pang of jealousy flickered in Kathleen, despite her animosity. She wondered where she was supposed to lay when she was dead. On the other side of Scott? Not likely.
On Scott’s bronze grave marker was his full name, Scott Lawrence Buckley. The marker underneath read, “Received into the Lord’s loving care.”
Kathleen felt a twinge of surprise when she read it. Could that possibly be true considering the life he led? She did not think beyond that momentary wonder and bent down, running her hand over the marker, remembering.
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