It was a beautiful sunny day and I decided it was time. I hadn’t been there since the funeral. I parked the car and walked toward the entrance to the church. I knew the best way to remember where to find him was to retrace the steps of the funeral procession.
His grave is still unmarked.
I don’t remember a lot about the service. I remember making eye contact with Lynette as I walked down the aisle, my arm linked with my mother’s – holding each other up. When my eyes met Lynette’s, I saw that she was already crying. I knew then that I wasn’t going to be able to look at anyone for the entire service, if I was to try to maintain my composure. Since my brothers and I would be giving the eulogy, composure seemed important.
After the service we all processed up the hill, straight up, and to the right. I remembered that (at least I thought so). I knew he was buried under a tree; I remembered thinking that was nice. So on this sunny day, six months later, I took those same steps up the hill, and there, under a tree was a new(ish) grave. I laid down on my back in the grass beside it, somehow imagining this was Dad’s “view” now – the tree, the clouds, the blue sky.
I tried talking to him there. I do talk to him now and then, and I wondered if talking to him there, where his body was, would feel different. It didn’t. It felt forced, actually – like that was what I was supposed to do. Like in the movies.
I heard some people talking nearby and I sat up, feeling a bit self-conscious. Maybe they found it odd that I was laying down in the cemetery.
I suddenly became amused by the possibility that I was actually laying next to the wrong grave, trying to talk to the wrong person. Dad always teased me about my sense of direction. He’d have been having a good hardy laugh over me weeping over some other guy’s grave.
I suppressed a laugh. It felt like we were sharing a joke, he and I…and we were.
I realized then that for me, dad would never really be there, in that cemetery plot. Those are just bones. That is nothing to me now.
Later, I was telling my mother and Ryan about my thought – of dad laughing his butt off if I were at the wrong grave. Ryan laughed and said he’d had the same exact thought when he visited.
We are going to be okay, all of us – one inappropriate laugh at a time.
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