It had been a while since I had visited my Father. For Christmas and the date of his birthday it had just been to cold for me to stand outside but I know he understands. Today I took Grant and Tyler. I’ve taken Tyler before but he’s been too young to remember going or sometimes he was just napping too heavily for me to wake him up and take him over to his grandfather’s grave.
This morning I had told Tyler that we were going to visit his Grandpa in Heaven. He’d still be up in Heaven and couldn’t talk to us but there was a little “sign” that had his name on it and he could listen to whatever we said to him. He could tell him anything or ask for anything and that it was the best place to talk to him.
While I drove the forty minute drive, I thought about how my dad used to take us to visit his parents’ graves when we were smaller and went to his home state more often. I wonder now how my father felt taking his children there and just being there. I remember him praying, but was he sad or was he just paying his respects? Not that my grandparents’ were bad people, but my father was one of seven children and he couldn’t have gotten the attention paid to him that my brother and I received.
When I got to his gravesite I immediately started to cry. So many people had put balloons on their Fathers’ graves. “Happy Father’s Day!” “You’re the best, Dad!” Balloons meant for those fathers who should be at barbecues or Sunday Brunches.
I hadn’t brought anything for my father, but I knew he wouldn’t want me to spend any money. I could just picture him saying, “Now why would you spend money on something I can’t use?”, and shaking his head at me.
Tyler had dozed off. Grant went over first. Then I woke up a cranky Tyler and told him we were here. Tyler stumbled over and asked, “Well, where is he?” And I had to explain the whole thing again to him. I told him to say I love you, grandpa, and that he could ask him anything. Tyler looked up in the sky and said, “I want The Flash!” (The DC Comic Superhero) I sent him back to the car and sat down at my dad’s grave.
“Look how beautiful your grandson is”, I said. My dad had never met him. I was going to ask my dad for a big favor. He had granted me something very special once before. I told him how badly Grant and I were doing healthwise. I’ve been sick for seven years so I wasn’t going to ask for a miracle. I told him that our money was running out and I didn’t know how much longer we could last without getting our disability, or some sort of break.
I told him that Tyler was beautiful and smart and loving and I wanted to have the resources to nurture those gifts. I wanted a backyard for him to play in and maybe enough money to take him on vacation once a year, to anywhere. I wanted to be able to give him the kind of childhood that my brother and I had because of him and I asked him to ask God and Jesus to help us.
Then I told him something that I haven’t even told Grant yet. My mother has made the decision to be buried with her new husband and it breaks my heart that my dad is all alone in his little grave after 35 years of marriage and taking care of all of us. I told him that I was going to tell Grant that if I were to die suddenly, be it in a car crash or if my Lupus worsens, that I would like to be by his side. I told him he was the best father he ever could have been to a child.
Then I said some prayers, The Hail Mary and The Our Father, just as my dad used to do for his parents and said goodbye.