{August 15, 2012}   Dignity

Photo of my fathers grave, August 10, 2012

My father’s mother died suddenly at the kitchen table during breakfast when he was 16 years old. He was the youngest in a family of eight and was the only one present when she died. He never got over her death. My father lived another 60 years before his own death in January of this year. His death was also sudden.

I certainly don’t know everything about my father. There are contradictions, puzzles and paradoxes that define his life. But I do know this. I know that on every Mother’s Day and Christmas, my father visted Westview Cemetery to put fresh flowers on his mother’s grave. When her birthday passed this year, it is the first May 8th since 1951 that fresh flowers were not found on her grave.

I visited my father’s grave again on Friday. There is no headstone or marker placed there. No flowers. There is only a bare spot in the grass where he was buried.  Soon, grass will cover the bare spot and there will be no way to discern where his body lies. All indications are, there will be nothing placed there until his wife of 55 years, (mother) dies. Despite inheriting his money, at the time of this writing, there is no evidence that she has used any of it to purchase a headstone for him. On Father’s Day, when I first discovered this, the administrators at the cemetery told me that she is the “property owner” and is the only one who can place a headstone. I am allowed only to lay flowers. On Friday’s visit when I asked again if anything had been ordered for him, I was told that they were no longer permitted to give me any information or updates about my father’s grave. The most they could do is provide me with a map and accompany me to the grave site to identify the proper spot.  I could see on her face that my embarrassment was shared when we arrived at the bare patch of grass.

Now, I know that HE isn’t under that dirt clod in the grass. I know his spirit isn’t lingering there, howling in the wind. But I visit his grave because that is a place where I can honor him. It is a place where I can put flowers on his birthday, Father’s Day, and Christmas. This ritual honors a relationship between a father and a daughter that doesn’t weaken because of the the negligence or hard-heartedness of someone else. I will continue to express gratitude for my father, and in doing so, I hope to set an example for my son, so he can honor his mother when that time comes.


DB Love says:

Lynn, thanks for sharing this story. I can’t even begin to wrap my arms around this.

weeba says:

Sweetie, You are so amazing. You have already set the finest example you could, and your son is living proof of that.
Not even on the radar screen that he would not honor you always.

jreid911 says:

DB Love shared your blog with me. I know how difficult it is to go through the things you are experiencing with your mother. I have much the same going on with mine. Your blog has inspired me to start one of my own. It is my hope it will help to get some of this out. Sort of like a cleansing purge.

lynnygal says:

Thanks, Jreid, for sharing that with me. It helps me to know that I don’t have to carry this all by myself anymore. Blogging has helped me tremendously. I hope it does the same for you. Good luck with your blog!

jreid911 says:

Lynngal there are more folks in our shoes than we know. It helps me a lot to know the blogging helped you out. Thanks!

lynnygal says:

Send me the link to your blog when you get it going, Jreid!

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