I was in my hometown again after many years to speak at a memorial of a dear high school friend, a soul mate of mine. I think we kept each other from going crazy in those early years.
The day following the event I left my hotel with a large coffee in hand and headed for the cemetery and a visit to my parents’ graveside.
It was a perfectly glorious day. Sun splitting the rocks, fall colours abounding in full splendor, a light breeze scattering the few clouds above. I was the only person in the entire cemetery. Aren’t Sundays the day people visit these places? My only company was a symphony of bird calls from the forest behind the gravesites. I couldn’t have ordered better accompaniment for the visit.
I cleaned off the debris from their stone, now slightly weathered, laid down the small stone angel I had brought to place there, and sat down on my blanket, also brought for the occasion.
Where to start, mother and father? Mom, you’ve been gone 22 years, Dad over 20. Your grandchildren, some of whom you never met, are grown and thriving, and carry so many of your hallmark characteristics. Scott’s twin Brooke has your forthright manner, Dad, and no nonsense demeanour. But she still loves a good laugh, just as you did. Mom, I see your gentleness in Dana, and your disinclination to judge.
Father, you said we didn’t need a place to come like this, that we’d remember you without it, and of course you were right. But on a rare day like this it is a place to come and be alone with you. To just be.
I trace your names etched alongside one another on the stone.
Are you together in heaven too? I have no idea about any of that. But what a lovely thought. One I’ll hold on to, for today at least.
And while I’m at it I’ll think of you both deliriously happy, somewhere, beyond anything we know.