I visited Marilyn’s grave last week. My friend Shelley and I were very excited to make this pilgrimage. I think we both had the feeling that this was something that we were meant to do since we were very young. You can watch a short video about our adventure here.
It was a beautiful and peaceful location although it was sandwiched between a parking garage and a sky scraper. We had some trouble finding it but once we did there was a sense of being welcomed into a secret place.
One of the most striking things was the way that Marilyn’s crypt was deeper in color than the others. As I got closer I saw the reason. For years visitors had been kissing and touching the marble. The oils from hands and red lipstick kisses have polished the marble to a beautiful glow.
Two days later I heard about the bombings in Boston while at work. I spent the week glued to the media hoping to catch some piece of information that could make it make sense but none came.
Determined to take a break from the news, I listened to a recent podcast from Buddhist teacher Tara Brach. She led us through a contemplation where we imagined what we would do if we had one year to live. At this point I thought about this project and why I feel compelled to complete it. Then she had us imagine a month to live and I thought about my family & friends and letting them know how much I love them. Then a week and I thought about picking up my husband from work and just holding each other, kissing each other’s tears. Lastly, we imagined that we only had a few minutes left. The first thought that came to mind was that the only thing left to do in these last moments is to realize how truly good I am. And completely forgive myself all the times I forgot.
That Saturday before the bombings I too touched the smooth silky marble of Marilyn’s crypt. All those touches and kisses seemed to say “I care about your suffering and I see how good you are.” I wonder how long I can hold this aspiration in my heart before I forget again.