A place I return to……

I pulled through the narrow opening of the rusty swing gate. I steered the car carefully down the gravel path making the sharp left turn. I stopped and backed up going off-road, inwardly cringing I could be driving over a grave. I apologized in my head and straightened the car to face back the direction I came. The rusty white gate lay ahead in the distance. I briefly wondered if I could navigate the beast back through without a scratch…then pushed the thought aside.

I was stalling.

This is the hardest part for me. Getting out of the car and walking to the grave.

Most times I like to go alone because, with him, my emotions are raw. Too raw for me to share easily. Plus, I like talk to him. I tell him everything. Oh I know he is not there, not physically, but in my heart, I know he hears me. I know this is what I need.

I exit the car and briefly wonder if I should take my camera, then I think….no, I have my phone. The slam of the car door seems too loud in the small, quiet graveyard. I softly crunch through the yellow grass as I head towards the black stone. I glance at the other stones, and I smile sadly.

This place. Where so many cried, and yearned, and missed someone deeply. It’s not just their loved ones here, but part of them too. The part that died with them.

I approach his grave expecting the brick to hit my chest, and the burning tears to fly as my throat chokes. I wait and I smile my sad smile in remembrance of such a wonderful father and I realize………

I’m not as sad as years past.

In fact, I almost didn’t come this year. So many things to do, at home, and with the kids. Physical ailments – hives, hormones, and the stress of work on top of work.

I needed to get so many things done. I did not have time to drive six hours to Oklahoma and back to visit a grave. A stone. A stone in the ground and that is it.

Yet, here I am………because I couldn’t NOT come.

It was on a Sunday then too…..FOUR years ago……I hugged his neck for the last time.

I didn’t know it would be the last time. How could I? He was fine. He was my rock. He was always going to be there…..at least for many more years.

But in an instant. A blocked artery. A fateful night. He was gone. So suddenly.

So I come. I come on the Sunday I saw him last. I come to remember, and to thank him for all his years.

I bend down. Surprised by the peace I feel. Surprised that the years passing really do make it easier. My hand rests on the hot stone.

We talk.

And it ends as it always ends. My heart emptying out my thankfulness for his goodness, for his love, and for his shining example of strength. His handicap taught me so much about always pushing forward with your head up – no matter what.

My God, if a crippled man could do life so well. I could too. I could learn from my mistakes. I could love myself in spite of my failures….in spite of my anxieties…..in spite of my overwhelming stress of doing too much, seeking too hard, and falling over my dreams in a rush.

I feel his pride in my soul. My strength. The reason I keep my head up.

Maybe he is gone. Maybe he isn’t.

The tears drop as I turn away. In a blur, the dry dirt swallows them.

I turn to see his view and I think…how perfect.

A beautiful setting for a beautiful soul.

I whisper as I walk away….I’ll see you again…..real soon. And I smile.

21 thoughts on “A place I return to……

    1. It is a peaceful place to rest, or at least for me to go, and remember him. I want to honor his memory above all else. I started an anti-depressant recently (my first ever). It has been really hard for me to accept this “help” I need. Going to see him gave me the acceptance I needed to come to terms with it.


  1. It has been far too long since I’ve visited and commented. This was a lovely tribute to your Dad. My dear and beloved father has been gone for over 21 years. I can’t believe it has been that long. Grief is one of those things that just “is.” I wrote a piece about grief, after the death of the father of our youngest son’s best friend. Your writing resonated a great deal for me, and though it “stirred up” memories- they were all good ones. Not a day goes by that I do not think of, long for, and smile about my Dad and my Mom, both gone from this world, but surely living well in another! (The link to that post is: http://paulatohlinecalhoun1951.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/grief-simply-is/ ) BTW, your decision to use an anti-depressant is a good one. Making conscious choices such as that to help us steer ourselves along life’s paths can be very valuable. I hope that you will get just the help you need for this journey you are on!

    I came over when i saw your comment on Photo Lord. Did you see that one of my photos was featured on this past Saturday? Surprised the heck out of me, but delighted me, too! I have a new photo blog, called “Reflected Glory – My Adventures in Photography.” I think you have been there, but just in case, here’s the link: htp://myphotoreflections.wordpress.com

    I will try, especially while on my “hiatus” from regular posting on RFACM to be a more regular visitor. I love your photos and your words. In a perfect world, there would be time for everything we want to do – like reading and commenting on my favorite blogs (like yours). I keep hoping. . .but in the meantime, I’m trying to catch up on some writing that I have needed to do in order to get my book a little further down the road.

    As ever, I wish you enough. . .


  2. What a beautiful post, Angelia. So sorry for your loss, even after all this time. Made my think of my father. He’s still here, but I haven’t spoken to him in 5 years. I’m always recalling the many reason we have stopped talking, but then I read a post like this and I can’t help feeling the rush of emotions and wonder whether I’m doing the right thing. You’re in my thoughts <3


  3. I so love this… My dad is at the DFW Veterans Cemetery and we go out there often and I always expect the same brick to hit my chest as well and it does. My dad has a view of the planes taking off from DFW and they fly over him. He loved planes. I work on the cancer floor of our hospital frequently and loss is something I really wonder about alot. Thank you for sharing this. I love you!


  4. So raw and true. Both of my parents are approaching mid-sixties, and sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the fact that some day they will be gone. I’m glad you have this ritual in your life, a place to go to call back all those memories.


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