|During the month of March I visited my dear friend Fosforito (Alexandra) in Germany. We planned a whirlwind tour of Europe with the end destination to our travels in London. We had discussed before visiting Robert's grave while we were in England, but as we grew more time-pressed and stressed out, I began to think we would not have time to take a few hours' long trek out into the English countryside. Alexandra was right though - we had come this far ... it would be a shame to jetison our plan to visit Robert since who knows when we would return to England again.
We got up early and took the 9 a.m. train out of London which would connect up to another train that would take us near our final destination. Unforunately the train we were riding on got delayed on the track and we missed our connection by about 5 or 10 minutes. In an act that was quite classy, the train station arranged taxis for all the passengers that missed the connecting train and we were treated to a taxi ride through the English countryside ... which is so beautiful and charming.
Eventually we decided to take a taxi as we had no idea what bus route would take us to the town Robert's grave was in. As we approached the town, we could see how Robert could fall in love with such a place. There was a beautiful green park where people golfed and took their dogs out to enjoy the fine spring day. I could easily see Robert wanting to ride a horse in such a beautiful area. The village that was our destination perched on top a hill before the landscape rolled into a deep and green valley.
As we arrived at the church, our cabbie was very kind and agreed to pick us up in an hour as we were correct that taxis were almost non-existant in such a village. The church was beautiful and had a lovely Gothic beauty to it without the size and ostentation we had seen from Westminster Abbey the day before. This was a church where generations of families - perhaps spanning several centuries - baptized their children, married and had funerals all within the same walls of this old and beautiful little church.
In the courtyard was the original cemetery ... old gravestones weather-worn, cracked and sometimes tilting within the soil. Some of these dated back several centuries, but we knew this was not the place where Robert's grave would be. We walked behind the church and past a line of trees marking the boundaries of the old cemetery from the more recent graves.
Spring flowers, daffodils and lilies already were beginning to grow and bloom around the graves. Since there were about 300 graves we had to search through - not knowing where Robert was buried - Alexandra and I decided to split up and search. I continued looking at the newer looking headstones, but eventually Alexandra found the grave ... it was among the other graves where those who have been cremated found their final resting place.
I was surpised and shocked as I approached Robert's grave. He was within a row of other small graves with no headstones, but simply rectangular slabs of granite or marble that were no bigger than the cover of a large book imbedded into the ground. I must admit now I felt disappointment as I first gazed at Robert's grave. Did I somehow hope not to find it and be deluded that he was still alive? Or maybe it was the stark realization that here nothing more remained upon this earth of so wonderful a man and talented an actor than his ashes and this simple, unadorned small slab of stone with just the inscription:
In Loving Memory of
Robert Alastair Addie
I felt sadness ... sadness at the loss. Since I never met him while he was alive this would be as close as I would ever get to meeting him ... at least in this life. Maybe it also was the fact that Robert's grave - which I assumed would look well-tended by family, loved ones - and yes fans - looked so negelcted ... even forgotten. Grass stains were upon the stone from several summers of being mowed over. Dirt was in the letters of Robert's name and grass and weeds were beginning to grow over the stone, obscurring his name.
We tried to clean it off the best we could with our hands and picked away some of the encroaching grass and weeds. While in our hearts as fans we claim Nothing is Forgotten, I felt somehow that Robert - at least his grave - had been forgotten and left to spend many seasons unvisited and untended. The only mementos at the grave was a broken porcelain rose - perhaps left by his mother or girlfriend? - a pot of lavender pansies and some blue flowers that were planted at the head of the grave.
Alexandra and I spent a long time in silence, gazing at Robert's final resting place. There was a lovely peace and simple beauty in that cemetery. I felt consoled in a way such a beautiful and peaceful place was where Robert always would be.
After our tears and prayers, we final left some items for Robert - a picture we loved of Robert as Gisburne with Fury, and some silk flowers, white roses with forget-me-nots. We were reluctant to leave as our hour drew to a close, but knew our taxi would arrive soon and had to go. I felt sad I couldn't visit the grave more often, to clean off the stone and maybe plant some lovely flowers that would bloom throughout the summer. But I kept thinking, someday we will return - that this would not be the last and only visit.
Nothing is Forgotten
Robert, you are not forgotten
Peace, Love and Happiness to you now and throughout Eternity ...