Visiting My Own Grave

Guest Post by Christine A. Scheller

“My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.” These are the last words American journalist Daniel Pearl said before he was murdered by terrorists in Pakistan on the first day of February, 2002. They are also the words three-term New York City mayor Ed Koch had inscribed on his tombstone before he died on the same day in 2013.

I’ve been thinking a lot about headstones lately and Koch’s gave me pause. (More on that in a moment.) I’ve been pondering epitaphs because the fifth anniversary of my son’s death is approaching and the words inscribed on his grave challenge me.

Gabriel’s stone not only includes his name, but my husband’s and my own. In order to secure a grave on top of the Jersey Shore hill where he spent many a happy day sledding, we had to buy a four-person plot. It was cheaper to have as much of the engraving done as possible before the stone was set than to wait until future occupants meet their dates with death. [Read more...]