Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Last words

We interred his ashes in his family's plot under a Victorian angel statue that is dusted with lichen and worn by well over a century of rain, in a Roman Catholic cemetery about an hour away from where I grew up. On the drive up there with my oldest brother, BP and I sat on either side of the plain oak box holding his ashes, and rested our hands on its smooth surface. The day was clear, and sunny, and beautiful, and we gathered in the shade of an immense old oak.

He rests next to his grandparents, his great grandparents, his aunt, and his great-aunt. As well as his immediate family, his sisters and some of my cousins also came. After we finished, and the taciturn gravedigger had tamped the dirt back down over the grave site, my mother dropped a bouquet on the scarred ground. It was roses, and lilies of the valley: recapitulating her wedding bouquet, but with the addition of forget-me-nots picked from her own garden that morning. We lingered, hesitant to go. The kindly Irish priest from the nearby parish said, "I have had over 100 funerals here, yet have never been in this old part of the cemetery. I will look over here in the future, and think of him and all of you nice people."

Then we went home, and BP and I thought the back seat seemed empty without the box between us. The family spent the evening eating, drinking his favorite wine, and telling familiar stories of his 83 years, washing our grief with tears but also celebrating his life with our laughter.

During the run-up to Prop8, my Dad went to his Rotary Club and told his fellows, "You will oblige me by voting against this. My daughter is a lesbian and getting married." He was so pleased to show me his huge "No on Prop8" yard sign. And he walked me down the aisle with a huge grin, and we danced at my wedding.

I love you, Dad. Rest in peace.

9 comments:

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Beautiful-- you made me happy/sad and thankful all at once.

Love to you and yours,

Leonardo

Kirstin said...

(((((you)))))

JCF said...

No words, only {{{hugs}}}.

Erika Baker said...

This had tears streaming down my face. What a beautiful description, what a beautiful Dad.
Love and hugs.

Ann said...

So sweet and lovely tribute to a life of love.

Grandmère Mimi said...

What a lovely tribute to your dad, IT. He sounds like the finest of men. I know you all will miss him terribly. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, especially with your mom.

Love and blessings.

it's margaret said...

...the wedding bouquet...

Crying and rejoicing dearest IT.

You have been so very blessed.

May he rest in peace --and in the lingo of a Christian --and rise in glory to that life which has no end.

Paul said...

Keep looking for the hug button on my browser. Words just aren't enough.

You are loved.

Counterlight said...

more hugs from Brooklyn.