Visiting Dad’s Grave

Did we want to put anything else on the stone, for either of them? I don’t think anyone ever asked us 10.5 years earlier.

My father died 11 years ago today, and I was going to show you pictures of the gravesite, but in some home construction project, we’ve tidied up and I can’t find them. Maybe in six months, they will turn up.

In truth, those were pictures of my mother’s burial back in February that I wanted to show. Since my father died, I’ve been to his gravesite only twice since, before my mother’s internment.

When I’d go down to Charlotte, NC to visit my mom and sister, we’d talk about going. But it wasn’t just a hop in the car across town, it was nearly an hour away, at the Salisbury National Cemetery Annex, VA Section 8, grave 358. And once we got there, we’d tend to stick around for a while.

In any case, for a marker of such a relatively recent vintage, my father’s headstone seemed to have more than its share of wear and discoloration. At mom’s burial, the guy in charge of the cemetery told us that there would be a new stone prepared. On one side would be my father’s information, including his military service unit, and on the other side would be my mom’s info. Did we want to put anything else on the stone, for either of them? I don’t think anyone ever asked us 10.5 years earlier.

For my father’s side, it had to be short, for space considerations. We, surprisingly quickly, settled on “Renaissance Man” for him. He was a singer, guitarist, painter, writer, flower arranger, civil rights leader, church leader, (failed) businessperson, and general all-around force of nature.

For my mother’s side, we agreed to “The Wind Beneath Our Wings”, based on the related song my sister Leslie sang at both my father’s funeral (to my mom) and my mother’s.

The cemetery folks sent me a survey, asking how well they did, how the facility looked, et al. I must say that it was all great.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

4 thoughts on “Visiting Dad’s Grave”

  1. Those are lovely sentiments you’ve chosen to remember your parents. My dad was cremated and I try and get by and see the memorial garden when I’m back in my hometown. I know it sounds macabre, but I love walking in old country cemeteries and looking at the headstones that date back to the 1800s. The sense of history associated with them is fascinating to me.

  2. I love Renaissance Man and Wind beneath my wings. Great testament to what wonderful parents you had. Hard to believe but my Dad died 13 years ago and my Mom was 21 years ago. Seems like yesterday in both cases.

  3. Besides my husband, you are the only person I know who doesn’t go to visit graves. I used to fight with him, but not any more. He says let the dead bury themselves. His mum couldn’t make him go to his Dad’s grave. I couldn’t make him go to our son’s grave. Now, I don’t go, I remember my son in my heart.

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