I went to the cemetery to visit my Dad on his birthday today. He passed away twelve years ago. Although I believe my dad is heaven and I don’t have to go to the cemetery to talk to him, I believe it is respectful to make a visit every so often.
I learned this from my friend and her mom. Throughout the years I’ve been to the cemetery with them to visit my friend’s grandfather who died weeks before she was born. I have even stopped by on my own to pay my respects when I was in the area.
When I go to a cemetery I say prayers for the souls of all of the dead. When I go to visit my dad I run through some of the things that are going on in my life to sort of “tell” my dad. I also recall the day he was buried. I remember how my friend drove me there while the the rest of my family went in other cars. At that time I wasn’t comfortable combatting the weekday traffic down there. I remember how my mom’s friend’s husband pointed out that the sun came out from behind a cloud and shone as he was interred. I feel like when someone dies you get signs that they are ok, and this was one of my signs.
One of the other things I was thankful for was that my other friend I wrote about in the Loving Ourselves post survived her suicide attempt. Yesterday was her daughter’s birthday and after the cemetery I was going to their house for her birthday party. Even though I understand it is an illness and my friend can’t control how she feels, it’s difficult to accept. She almost missed this birthday! One of the things I told my dad was how thankful I was that I wasn’t also visiting my friend on this trip.
I posted a status on Facebook that I was at the cemetery visiting my dad on his birthday. That’s not really like me, but I felt like it was important. Maybe it was to remind people to visit their loved ones, maybe it was to get people to pray, maybe it was to share this part of myself. At any rate I got many caring responses from friends and family that didn’t surprise me.
I received a text on my phone from another very good friend, one that I haven’t known as long as the others I’ve mentioned in this post. She said she saw Facebook and knows what its like seeing the years pass, and the things we miss, and hoped it went well reconnecting with my dad. Her choice of words were very beautiful and summed up why it is meaningful to go to the cemetery. Although we can talk to our loved ones on our own, there’s something about taking the time for a visit and being near their body (or ashes) that does make the connection stronger.