In all the years that I’ve lived in Los Angeles, I never went to visit Marilyn Monroe’s gravesite until this past weekend. I have her tattooed on my arm, I read and watch anything I can find about her and somehow never went.
Funny story – I actually went to the wrong cemetery last year thinking that Marilyn was located at the infamous Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Walked around for nearly an hour before finally pulling open google and discovering that we were in the wrong cemetary.
For the record, she’s located at the Pierce Brother’s Westwood Village Memorial Park & Mortuary. It’s a very quaint cemetery tucked away between a few high rise buildings. In fact, I missed the exit the first time – drove right past it.
When you finally get to the right entrance you pull into the cemetery and it’s very small. I don’t know why I felt she would be in this huge magnificent place – but it was actually really nice to be in this smaller easier to navigate location.
We realized that we had forgotten to get her flowers. No way was I going to walk up to her grave and not bring roses. We headed to the nearest store where their flowers were dismal at best except for a few roses in random bouquets.
When we returned, no one was standing at her grave. It was just us and her. I was excited to finally be there. We probably took a million pictures. Some silly, some serious. I felt she would appreciate our attitude of getting the perfect photo to capture the moment as her as the star.
After taking all the photos, my partner turned to me and said, “Why don’t you spend some time alone with Marilyn.” I didn’t quite understand why but as he walked away and I placed my hand on her headstone it all hit me like a ton of bricks. This was Marilyn Monroe. The woman I had read so much about, had identified with so much and whose absence left such a void in the world that it’s still so noticeable.
I began to ugly. I was overtaken by my emotions as I thought about her. I thought about some of the words she’d written and how she was so hard on herself all the time in her writing – a lot like me actually. I had always identified with her so it was surreal to be standing where they laid her body to rest.
She too had been in an abusive marriage. She too often doubted her abilities. She was so human and people put her up on this super high pedestal. But boy was she a dreamer too. She was a go-getter and despite what happened to her in her youth – she became a star.
I both admire her and have so much empathy for her too. Her internal battle was a rough one and if you’ve read her writing and memoirs about her – you start to see how troubled Norma Jean was. She was just like the rest of us. I wish I could have told her how much I admired her.
RIP Marilyn Monroe.