Friday, July 10, 2009

Grave Matters

On the way back from St. Louis after visiting Mom over the July 4th weekend, I decided to stop off at the cemetery to visit Dad’s grave. I hadn’t done so in awhile, not wanting to confuse my little daughter. But I’d been missing Dad especially keenly of late and decided that, at the ripe old age of five Moiya was mature enough to face life’s Great Mystery.

When we arrived at the cemetery I asked Moiya if she wanted to wait in the car while I paid my respects. But she said no, that she’d like to come with. So hand-in-hand, we walked up the gentle green slope to visit “Gran’pa Jerry.” At the grave, I knelt and traced my fingers over the lettering on the stone and helped Moiya sound out the words. She looked around with mild puzzlement and asked where Gran’pa Jerry was. I said “You’re standing on him, baby. He was buried right where we are standing.”

I was expecting questions or puzzlement. After all, coming to terms with the ultimate fate of us all is not something one deals with every day. Moiya looked down at the ground in thought for a very long time, small brow furrowed, toying at the blades of grass with her toe. Finally, after a prolonged silence, she looked up at me.

“Can we pull off the grass and look at him?”

She seemed quite disappointed when I said no and tried several times to talk me into it.

Finally we got back into the car and returned home.

You can’t make this stuff up. You really can’t.