My little brother says he wants to go to the cemetery for Father’s Day.
He says he “just wants to.”
I say, “Why? He isn’t there, Garrett.”
“I know,” he says. “I just want to go there. I want to see his headstone. I want to talk to him. I want to cry. I just want to.”
Neither of us have seen our dad’s headstone.
The difference between us is that… I have no desire.
In the few days after his death, I talked with my stepmother (of 20 years) about this very subject. She assured me through bawling tears that this was how it had to be because this is what they had talked about. This is what they both wanted.
I will always remember sitting at the table in their kitchen, crying, pleading with her not to put her name on his stone. I will never forget the words I said, nor hers.
I haven’t seen my dad’s headstone because I can’t bear to see her name next to his, knowing that less than two months after his death, someone took his place in her world. I choose not to visit it because it hurts too much knowing that another man helped her rearrange the life my dad left before I even had a chance to touch anything of his. I can’t look at it because I feel rage and bitterness and hurt towards the woman I viewed as a mother almost my whole life. I told her not to do it for this very reason. She insisted this would never happen.
I knew better.
I find comfort in the first two lines of a very famous poem by Mary Frye, which is actually carved in the stone that sits at the head of my grandmother and grandfather’s grave; Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I don’t think my dad minds my absence from his gravesite. I don’t even think he minds that his bride is shacked up with another man. I think he is kicking back up there in Paradise with his mother, father, sister, and my other grandpa who thought the world of him. I think our issues down here need to be resolved…. I just don’t see myself letting go in the near future.
Won’t be today.