Power in Numbers


I distinctly remember standing at my dad’s grave site for the first time knowing that I would never forget it. The moment is burned on my brain as though it was only yesterday, full of raw emotion and vivid detail. You can imagine my confusion then when I went to visit the site and couldn’t find it. I drove straight to where I remembered it being and then wandered around the graves, unable to find the one I was looking for. After what felt like ages (but was less than 10 minutes), I gave up and went to get a map.

The map sent me back to the exact place I had initially gone. Walking the rows again, I was chuckling to myself because I just didn’t understand why I couldn’t find my dad’s marker. I walked and walked and walked, intently looking at ID numbers while passing rows of headstones and it was only then that it began to dawn on me. When I finally found his marker and stood looking back the way I had come, I realized that this point in time had stopped for me but not for the rest of the world. For me, that day was almost a year ago but for many, it was far more recent. The number of graves that had appeared since last summer was staggering.

You can’t ask for a more literal reminder about loss and grief; we are not alone in the experience and there is far more of it than we can ever imagine. Standing there looking at all those white headstones, I couldn’t help but think of all the people that must be missed. There is a strange and sobering comfort that can be found when we look beyond our own loss and acknowledge it is just one among many.

fort snelling



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Heidi Van Heel

Heidi Van Heel

Writer, freelancer, and believer in magic living in Minneapolis. In my free time, I love reading, exploring the great outdoors, and experimenting in the kitchen.

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