Words of wisdom
From beyond the grave
Words of praise
Is what you gave
Words to get me off my arse
Words From Beyond M.S. 1989
I don’t honestly know if my mother saw me standing there under the large tree near boundary fence of the cemetery as my father drove off with her in tears, but if she did there was no reaction. She was already emotional and upset because of the memorial service so I guess part of me was willing to assume that further reaction was impossible but at the same time it was also easier to assume she didn’t see me.
When the car was out of sight I stepped out from under the tree and walked aimlessly towards my brother’s grave. I don’t remember if I had any conscious thought about stopping at the grave because I was too busy watching to make sure my father’s car wasn’t returning, but I did stop and no sooner had I stopped than my trance was broken.
“I’m sorry if you are here for the service it finished a few minutes ago.” The voice belonged to the priest, even up close I didn’t recognise him. “The parents of the deceased just left, you must have seen them.”
I looked from the priest to the headstone and back to the priest. “I’m sorry, I’m not here for the service. I was just walking past”
“Yes, my son, I’m sure you were. Such a lovely place for a stroll is a cemetery.” The priest replied, even with his slightly strange way of speaking and his chosen words he came of as kind of nice and polite. He was kind of like my grand father , but I knew there was no chance my father would have selected that man to see over his son’s memorial, mine maybe, but not Herod’s.
“Sounds like a bit of a sad story.” I said while at the same time pointing towards the headstone as if I’d just read it.
“The whole place is full of sad stories.” I looked at the priest, whatever it was he saw in that look was enough to make him talk a bit more. “But yes that is a sad story. How do you know the family?”
I shook my head slowly but I wondered if maybe the priest knew more than he was letting on because while Herod and I weren’t identical we were twins and therefore shared quite a few features, and we shared family features as well.
The priest told me the story of single child family who lost their son to a car accident when another child, who the father would only refer to as the spawn of the devil, pushed young Reginald in front a speeding vehicle. I tried not to act shocked at what the priest was telling me but when he got to the part about the other child fleeing when the police began hunting him down to make him pay for what he had done I knew I was loosing it. The priest however didn’t bat an eye lid he just kept telling me the story as he knew it until he got to the end.
“Let he who is responsible be questioned by God.” I said repeating the last line on the tombstone after the priest had finished talking.
“Indeed, young lad,” said the priest, “Now I must be going, but let us not forget that God sees more than we do ourselves.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked a little more demanding than I needed to be.
“We may not always be shown the truth by others by God sees all and judges all.” The priest then turned and began walking away and I swear I heard him add the words, “even your father.”
Ok so as you know I am not religious, even when I was living under my father’s roof I questioned religion, especially his religion. I also wasn’t the sort of person who thought a priest was anything more than a man in a black robe. But when I heard the words even your father I really did start wondering what higher power that man in black might have had.
The priest didn’t stop, he left me there standing at the grave of my brother staring at the tombstone with my own name on it. Obviously it hadn’t changed since I saw it before the memorial service but I was staring at it as if I thought it might. The weird thing was that as much as I hated those words, as much as they burnt into my mind, I just could not stop reading them.
A few minutes later the clouds high above me parted and the overcast day was replaced by a bright and sunny day that had me wishing I was wearing my sunglasses. In the sunlight my brother’s tombstone glimmered brightly and if I moved my head slightly different words would disappear in the glare.
“Don’t let anything hold you back.”
I looked around to see who owned the voice I heard. I looked left and saw nothing, I looked right and saw nothing, then I craned my neck as far as could and twisted my body to look behind, I still saw nothing.
Now I would have sworn on anything you cared to offer me that I heard those words, not just heard them in my mind, actually heard them spoken but when I saw no one around me I started to wonder if maybe someone had slipped me something the previous night and I was in some kind of dream like state. I remember actually think that maybe I was asleep in the truck and that the voices were just people walking past wherever it was parked. It was illogical and wrong, but so was hearing voices where there were no bodies but dead bodies.
“Follow your dreams brother!”
Now I no more believed in voices from the grave than I did in religion yet sitting in a cemetery with no one else around and with the words that were being spoken I was struggling not to believe I was hearing the voice of my dead brother. He’d guided me, in fact he’d been my own guiding light for the first fifteen years of my life, did that stop because he was dead and I was no longer at home?