When Buck was called home in April, 2009, his body was laid to rest, next to his dad in their family burial plot in West Virginia. Initially, I did not plan to install a grave marker, because I had a very strong conviction about doing so, as I knew the essence of who my husband was, was not present there where his remains were buried. I really struggled with the decision to order a marker because in my mind and heart, my husband was not there. Only his shell still remained at the top of that West Virginia hillside. I was (and still am) convinced that Buck's soul, personality and everything that was special and unique about him were in heaven enjoying the presence of his Lord.
For many months I agonized about what I should do. What I really wanted was to invest the funds for the marker, into something of eternal value, such as supporting one of our favorite charities; something that would make a difference in people's lives. As I examined my options, I just couldn't settle on a final decision, and it was an ongoing battle in my mind for month after painful month. This was terribly disturbing to me. Finally, I came to the conclusion that placing a marker on Buck's grave was something I needed to do for Buck's family. It would be my gift to them. It was at this point that I finally had peace about my decision.
I wanted Buck's marker to be symbolic of the man he was and I wanted to be certain that anyone, who visited his grave-site either in person or virtually through a photograph, would understand what was most important to him. Buck’s given name was Denvil, after his dad, but he wasn’t a junior. Since no one ever called him by his first name, not even his mom, it was important to me to have his nickname included on his marker.
I choose carnelian granite for the foundation, as I thought it was beautiful, unique, manly looking and the perfect compliment for the rich, dark brown tone of the bronze plaque. Just this week, I was very blessed to learn that carnelian is mentioned in the Bible as the sixth foundation stone of the celestial city. I love the design on the bronze that depicts his love of the outdoors, with the evergreens and the mountains in the background. I chose the wood-grained frame because it reminded me of Buck’s sturdiness and it looked like oak which was a wood that we both loved. It seemed a fitting frame to encase what was most important to the love of my life.
Under his name is an emblem that captures Buck’s favorite verse from Psalm 23: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me. (Psalm 23:4) The other emblem was my choice to depict Buck’s life as a Christ-follower, and also the example he set, as he stayed steady in his faith during his illness. I felt it exemplified how he remained sweet with all his caretakers during those last four, grueling months, as he fought for his life: I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)
Even though I was eagerly watching and waiting for the photo of the finished memorial; it was very painful to see it for the first time on my computer screen. It was another huge step of closure and acceptance of the reality that my best friend is no longer here to share my life.
I am so thankful that Buck’s grave-marker is finally in place! I think Buck would like it. I hope his family likes it as much as I do! My goal was to bless Buck’s family, but more importantly, I wanted to honor the precious man God gave me to be my husband for eleven and a half wonderful years! All that was required to make his memorial a reality was so worth it in the end!