Sunday, September 06, 2009

Past, Present and the Future

For many, visiting a loved one in a cemetery is difficult, emotional, perhaps painful and even healing. I am no exception to those feelings. Yet, when I go to visit my father in his resting place, I am surrounded with a profound sense of loss but with that comes an incredible sense of peace and rejuvenation. I don't get up to see him as much as I should, as sadly, I do not get back to my home town enough. And, if it were in the winter months, I can't visit my father as he is literally buried under 8 feet of snow, so finding the gravestone is at times challenging. Oh yes, my sister and I have taken upon the challenge to dig around and find it. And those times were filled with laughter at what we were doing, a sense of accomplishment when we found him and that ever present sadness of what we have lost. I should add in too, that we are respectful of those around us too, so upon our dig, or even our summertime visits, we will leave flowers upon the headstones surrounding my father in gratitude for being such good company for him.

In the summertime however, the graveyard is incredible. The view as you sit at my father's gravestone is breath taking as it is silent. You are surrounded by the beauty of nature and the love for others that have passed on and the tribute that their families and friends continue to give to them. It is something that is important for me to share with my children and for them to experience.

Last weekend, we were back in my hometown for a wedding and to celebrate my mom's birthday. My sister and I took the opportunity to take the children up to visit my Dad. Kaelen has been up there a few times however Masyn had never had the opportunity to do so. I let the kids each pick out their own flower bouquet to lay upon my Dad's gravestone and it was then that I knew that this would be an educational visit for me and one that was going to be filled with laughter. The kids were so very excited to be a part of this visit and having the responsibility to decorate Grandpa's resting place.

To access the gravestone, you practically need to be a mountain goat to navigate the hill as my hometown is literally built on the side of a mountain. After scaling the mountain, the kids were eager to give Grandpa his flowers. And upon gifting Grandpa with his flowers, "the questions" began:

Kaelen: Mom, where exactly is Grandpa right now?

Me: Well, he is in heaven honey.

Kaelen: I know, but where is his body?

Me: Um, well his body is deep within the ground, but his spirit and being is in heaven.

Kaelen: So, what you are telling me is that we are standing on his head right now?

Me: Well, if you put it that way, yes honey, we are.

Kaelen: Grandpa must have been big and strong then for us to stand on him like this.

There were many other entertaining conversations and perhaps it was wrong to find humour in a place as such, but I know deep down that my Dad was laughing himself silly. He found the laughter in everything and my son's innocent questions would be no exception. So we went about answering all of Kaelen's questions, cleaning up around my father's grave site and paying respect to others around him. My children must be mine as we didn't have to prompt them on this little tradition that my sister and I have, they just naturally wanted to do so.

I won't deny that I was sucking up the tears when visiting my dad this time. I so desperately wish that he could be actively involved in my life in the physical presence and to partake in my beautiful life. He would be so proud of my children and I am very confident in saying that he and my husband would no doubt be very good friends and get into a lot of trouble together.

Even after 23 years of his passing, the raw hurt and yearning is still there, but I take comfort in knowing that he is with all of us in spirit.


Mike said...

Smart kid.


Twitter: AboutParenting

Ellen said...

I think that it is wonderful for you to take your kids to participate in celebrating and remembering your father's life. I am so glad you found humor in the situation - humor can be such a soothing feeling to the soul - even as it brings tears to your eyes :) Thank you also for your comment on my last post I really appreciate the support and understanding! Just knowing that there are others that truely understand the after-affects of a miscarriage probably is the biggest encouragment!

Allie said...

Mike: Yes - he is. You can't get much by him and he is a thinker. You can just see the wheels turning as he processes the situations around him.

Ellen: It is sadly true that it brings comfort to another when you know that they have gone through the same experience as yourself. I am very open with my experiences should you ever need to ask questions. :)

Adventures In Babywearing said...

This is a beautiful post. And that photo of the two of them is amazing.


Amber said...

I think they're sweet. And I think it's so important you're introducing them to loss and are talking about it.

Allie said...

Steph: thank you!

Amber: Thank you as well! I too think that it is important to teach them about loss. When I lost my dad, I can't tell you how alone I was because know one knew what to do, how to react or how to comfort. It was an incredibly lonely journey for many years ....

Goofball said...

I'm so glad you got to take the children. I really think it is important for them and for you to share this together and to give you an opportunity to share your stories with them and they can visualise and experience his resting place.
It's cool you could have these talks in such a relaxed enjoyable way. Such a great idea to let them pick their own flowers and give them this responsibility to decorate!

I too "enjoy" visiting the graveyards where my relatives are buried. As many of us, I don't get there nearly enough but when I do I do feel this strong connection, this deep feeling of accomplishment, sadness and joy mixed together.

Our graves have big stones standing up though and we rarely have snow, so no digging adventures for us!

Goofball said...

Happy birthday to Kaelen!

Jenn said...

I agree, what a great post. Made me laugh and cry all at the same time. I can only imagine how hard it is. On a side note, love the brown hair.


sheryl said...

This is a very sweet post. Our new home is less than five minutes from my little brother's grave site. I haven't visited or told the kids about it yet and we've lived here almost a year. But I think about it everyday.