Andra and I drove up to Brookfield on Thursday, December 23rd, to finally visit Scott's grave. The fact it's been almost ten years since I heard about his death and still this is the first time I've gone is still sorta weighing heavily on my conscience.
It was a nice trip up. Andra and I talked about many varied topics: people from college, how life as someone who is almost 40 is, horrible/wonderful things that happened in college, horrible/wonderful things that happened after college, how we came to be the people we are, lots of conversation about Scott (a.k.a. Scooter).
Brookfield kinda took us by surprise, so we didn't even realize we'd passed TT (which is the road the graveyard is just past). We drove all the way through Brookfield on 36 highway looking for TT, and had to turn around. We went to one graveyard we'd spotted, but it was "the other" graveyard in Brookfied, not the one we wanted.
We stopped at a gas station to get directions, and still managed to drive by the graveyard "exit" (it's really just a right turn that sneaks up on you).
I am still trying to decide if it was appropriate that it was so cold that day. I mean, if the world felt to Scooter the way I felt that day... well, I'll just stop at "it was too cold" and leave it at that.
Except to add that the ground was actually warm, which makes where I was going with that last bit even ickier. But the ground was warm. We'd both gotten down to brush away dirt and dead grass that had gotten on his grave and I noticed the ground felt warm, so I stayed there while we had our visit.
As you may notice from the picture above, his birthdate was not on the stone. This bothered me for some reason, and Andra (who has a background in the whole "history and research" area), said it would be easy to get his Death Certificate from City Hall. We'd just need a couple of bucks. So after playing Scott some music and just generally chatting about things, we went to City Hall.
Easier said than done, however. They have a lovely City Square/Park in Brookfield, and City Hall isn't on it. The two people we stopped to ask weren't able to help us. Andra finally had to go into a business and ask them. We got to City Hall, but it closed at noon that day, and wouldn't be open again until after Christmas.
Andra had the idea of going to the funeral home that handled his funeral (she had done a sort of pre-visit research in order to learn where Scott was buried... see, she's the queen of research). She said they would have a record there. I hummed and hawed and she said, "Well, we're here now..." so I went. But I told her she'd have to do all the talking because I didn't know what to ask for.
And that's the story of how I learned Scott's birthday again. I say "again" because I'm sure I knew it at one point, even if it was just whenever his birthday came around while we were in college.
Anyway, back to the site: Andra had heard from the guy at the funeral home that Scott's mom had died recently. We thought he meant his birth mother, but it was actually the woman who raised him. That was another sad thing, as Dawn had said (again, almost 10 years ago) that when I visited Scott's grave, I should go see his Grandmother, because she would love to hear from friends of Scott. I guess I got there too late.
Bask in the guilt.
And there is this feeling of guilt that comes with it. We walked into the funeral home and Andra said we were friends of Scott's, and I had to wonder if the people were thinking, "Some friends... where were you during the dark night of his soul?"
Where was I? I know where I was in my life. I'd just left L.A., and was wishing I could get back there, but wanted to go back with money and not live as month-to-month as I had before. I wanted to know what I wanted to do with my life. I keep trying to remember what it was I did for Thanksgiving in 1994. I know I had been in Butler earlier in the month, helping Jason. I assume I was at home. Jordan would have been just a few weeks old. But as Thanksgivings go (granted, I've had a few "stand-out" Thanksgivings), it doesn't stand out at all. I didn't even know it should have stood out until the following summer.
So I don't know where I was. Lost in my life, I guess. I think I'm still there sometimes, and that's no good. But what to do, what do to?
If you're driving east on highway 36 and almost to Brookfield, and you happen to see this UMB sign:
Do me a favor and wave "hi" to Scooter for me. Tell him I miss him and I wish he could write me a letter.