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Timing is Everything

January 17, 2012

I was ready early for an evening of beer and oysters with a friend, so on a whim I decided to run over to the cemetery. I haven’t been in a couple of weeks because of the weather, but this afternoon felt great; it was overcast, but there was a warm breeze blowing ahead of this evening’s storm. As a practically minded person, I always wonder exactly why I am going to the cemetery. Logically, I can just as easily grieve, or talk to her in another place, but there is something about a cemetery that serves to focus me intently. Somehow I know that it is important, and I always come away with something. Whether its a cathartic vent, a deep thought, or a clearer connection on some issue, things seem to happen to me in a cemetery.

I walked out of the door with this thought in mind and pulled out of the driveway. As I approached the cemetery on the road, I looked down the railroad tracks parallel to the long line of trees which abut Sydney’s grave. I saw a front-end loader and thought, “Shoot. They are digging a grave right near hers.” This would severely impede my planned visitation. However, as I drove through the cemetery towards Sydney’s plot, I noticed that there was something dangling from the machine – and it was right near her grave.

“Could this be?” I wondered. I ordered her headstone a couple of months ago knowing that it would take a very long time for it to be manufactured and shipped to Charlotte. I had no idea, however, when it would be delivered. I pulled my car past the hundreds of graves on either side of me to the far end of the cemetery until I stopped the car next to the backhoe. Two men stopped working to look at me. One, upon completing his task, returned a shovel to its place on a work truck.

“Hello,” I said, “are you putting in a headstone?” Anticipating my intent, the man said, “Sydney Gaylord?” “Yes,” I said. “She was my wife.” “I’m so sorry,” he said. “Thank you.” I said. “Can I see it?” “Sure,” he said pointing me to the large piece of granite suspended from the shovel of the front-end loader by two heavy straps. It was beautiful, just what I had hoped.

Within seconds one of the men was positioning the headstone above a carefully excavated mirror-image shape dug in the earth above her grave. I immediately knew that this was my touch of grace for today. God was encouraging me in my grief on a day when I really needed it. What are the chances of me arriving at the cemetery at this exact moment?

I smiled in pride at the honoring of my sweet wife, and God’s surprising lovingkindness, and consistent message of, “I am in control and I love you. So you can trust me.”

For anyone who would like to visit her grave, Sydney is buried at Sharon Memorial Park on the corner of Sharon Amnity and Monroe. Her grave is against the tree line, next to a sidewalk and a bench, on the southwest side of the cemetery (as indicated by the green arrow on the map below). It is a quiet and peaceful spot.

From → Stories

10 Comments
  1. Cornelia Vick permalink

    God is good………..I think about you and your family so often………Much love to each of you. I have loved being a part of praying for you and watching God work in your life……Bless you all…..

  2. Kim White permalink

    Thank you for sharing this. I love what her headstone says!!!! So true!!

  3. Anne Huitt permalink

    Wow – God’s timing was such a blessing to you! What a wonderful gift. Praying for all of you!

  4. Mark Upton permalink

    It looks great. Very classy like her.

  5. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your journey, Todd. It encourages all of us. Sydney is greatly missed today and always.

  6. Nancy Teague permalink

    What a beautiful fitting headstone. Todd you and your family are in our thoughts often. Love to you all

  7. Natalie Davis permalink

    Todd, that is the most beautiful headstone I have ever seen and I love what it says. It captures her completely. I am so glad you could be there for that moment. With Love, Natalie

  8. This story blesses me. I feel as if I were there with you. Johnny McConnell

  9. Pat Kinneer permalink

    Thank you for sharing that special visit with us Todd. It brings tears but they are heavenly tears. You, Sydney and your lovely children have brought so many Blessings to our daughter Amber. Sydney’s headstone is so gracious and speaks volumes of her life here on earth. In His Grip, Pat K.

  10. Jennifer Tatum Welker permalink

    How amazing! God always knows just what to do. 🙂 Thanks for sharing Todd!

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