Today’s post is provided by my first guest blogger, my husband, Mark. He wrote this about a year ago. It is very touching and well worth reading!
The other weekend I took my daughter to visit my father’s grave. Dad died before Kayla was born, so she only knows him through my stories. She has often asked me where he was buried, but I’ve never taken her to see his grave. Instead I’ve always reminded her that he’s not there so why visit an empty house. But last Saturday we found ourselves in the area with some time on our hands, and I felt the time was right for us to visit.
I drove by the cemetery and stopped on the road about 100 yards from where my dad was laid to rest. It was on the top of a small hill under the shade of some pecan trees. Someone had hung wind chimes in one of the trees and there was just enough breeze to make music. Kayla asked me how I knew where to stop since all the tombstones looked alike. I explained to her that some things you just never forget. As we crossed the distance from the drive to the grave I noticed her leaping and criss crossing in every direction. “What are you doing”, I asked. She said “I’m trying not to step on someone else’s grave, but I’m not sure which way everyone is buried”. So, I gave a brief description of how to know where to walk and within a few minutes we knelt beside my dad’s grave. She noticed that my mom’s name was inscribed besides Dad’s and that really bothered her, until I told her the name was okay as long as the dates weren’t filled in. That took a little time to sink in, but she finally got it. She wanted to know why my mom’s name was written with a first initial, and I told her it was because Mom hated her real name and never used it. Very few people even know it. The notion that my mom had a secret name really seemed to blow her mind. She tried her best to get me to tell, but I refused. So, Mom if she ever finds out, she didn’t get it from me.
She asked several technical questions, as only kids can, about what a funeral was like and how you bury someone. I was patiently explaining the answers to her when she noticed a grave near Dad’s that had my friend’s last name on it. I told her that was where his dad was buried. She asked me how I knew, and I told her that I had been a pallbearer at his dad’s funeral just as he had been at mine, that it was one of many shared experiences that have bound our friendship over the years. She asked me if I missed Dad and I told her yes, but that I knew I would see him again one day and that when I do we will never have to be separated again. Sounding a bit alarmed she asked if that was going to happen any time soon. I reassured her that I was in no hurry. I was enjoying life with her and her mom way too much to leave just yet. She asked me if I thought my dad would have liked her and what will he say when she meets him in Heaven one day, and I told her that he will welcome her with open arms and lots of love. She liked that, and so wanting to end the visit on a happy note, we got ready to go.
Just as we were arriving back at the car, she noticed a small flower blooming at the edge of the cemetery by the woods. It was one of those precious early flowers that bloom just in time to remind us that spring really is on the way and things will be brighter soon. Suddenly she took off running to pick the flower and take it to Dad’s grave just as fast as her little legs would carry her. When she returned to my side, she said, “I wanted to make sure that Grandpa Bill knew I want to meet him someday”. Then she stopped, hugged my leg and with tears in her eyes said, “No, that’s not right.” “Dad, I did it because I love you and I know you miss him.”
I don’t know if my dad could see her that day, but I do know my Heavenly Father did. And I’m sure it touched His heart as much as it did mine.