The Wednesday of the week I spent in Boston, I went with my friend Jodi to see Tony’s sister and mother. I was apprehensive – even though I’d done the writing exercise I talked about yesterday, I still felt nervous about seeing them. What if seeing me unleashed anger or some kind of accusation that I could have prevented Tony from taking his own life? What if seeing them was too hard for me and I couldn’t hold it together? What if going to the cemetery was a mistake?
There was no anger. There was sadness, yes, and I think a kind of relief of being able to look at each other and share our grief for Tony. At the cemetery, I cried. Seeing the date on the stone was more upsetting to me than seeing his name.
I didn’t bring anything to leave on his grave. What could I leave? I said that to Jodi, and she said, “Put a rock on it.” That’s the Jewish tradition. Tony wasn’t Jewish and neither am I, but he loved to pick up rocks on the beach and he liked to hold them in his hand while he was writing. It felt right, so I did it; and then picked up another one to leave on his Aunt Concetta’s headstone. She was a lovely lady with a spectacular sense of humor, and was always kind to me. That felt right too.
Afterwards we went back and picked up Tony’s mom, and we all went out to dinner. It is typical of her generosity that she insisted on paying for dinner. That was my only meal all day, and somehow that was right too – that I shared it with my Tony’s family and my oldest and dearest friend.
It was painful, but it was right. I’m glad I went.