Ten months ago in our village,
a young boy aged fifteen died.
Every day since his funeral,
his dad sits by his grave.
I have to pass the graveyard most days.
I sometimes drive a different route,
so as not to see him there.
Its not that I do not feel intense sadness,
for this man.
Its just that every time I pass,
it forces me to think of my own mortality,
and that of my families,
and in doing so I feel like shouting out,
“Your son is not in there”.
I have spoken with my own family about this,
usually prompted by us passing the graveyard.
In those conversations,
I have made it very clear,
that if ever I do “check out”,
I would hope they can still find me in different places.
Maybe when they hear a really bad joke,
or read my journal or blog.
Maybe when they tie their shoe laces,
or enjoy a book.
Maybe in the different phrases they use,
or when they look at our garden.
Maybe when they see the kitchen in a state,
or smell something burning!
I do not have faith in an afterlife,
so I cannot preach happy ever after.
However, I do know that even though my own dad,
“checked out” over twenty years ago,
I do not believe he is in his grave,
dead and buried.
He lives on in my children,
and in my brothers and sisters.
He is especially near,
when I see fishing trawlers,
and is beside me whenever I smell freshly sawn wood.
He is smiling when I read a beautiful poem,
and comforts me when I am sad.
I do not know how I would cope,
if such a tragedy as befell this family came my way.
But I do hope I would not ease my grief in a graveyard.
As I look at this man daily,
I dearly wish that,
some day he may look around
and see all the beautiful places,
where he might still be near his son.