Archive for June 6th, 2011

06 Jun 2011

11 months

10 Comments Family, Personal Crap

Last year on July 14th my father passed away.

Yesterday my family and my parents’ closest friends met at the gravesite for a Jewish tradition known as “unveiling”. It traditionally takes place any time after 3 months from the date of the death, but usually around 11 months, never longer than a year.

The tradition involves unveiling the grave marker, saying some prayers, and letting anyone speak who has something to share about the deceased.

It was a very difficult morning.

I hadn’t been to the cemetery since the funeral in July.  I pass it a lot on the way to friends’ houses or work. Whenever I do I think, “Hi Dad”. Then I think, “Why did I just say that? That’s not where my dad really is. That’s just where his body is.” Then I think of him the day he died. Then I think of the funeral. Then I get angry for thinking of him like that and I remember something great about him like his smile or his laugh or his unwavering love and support. Then I cry. It always, always happens that way.

So yesterday was my first visit back there. Russ and I dropped G off at a friend’s house because we didn’t feel he needed to see us cry like that. We’ll bring him there when he’s old enough to grasp it. As we stepped out of the car we were both overcome by how surreal it is that he’s gone, that it’s been close to a year, that life continues.

My brother ran the ceremony that had been lovingly researched and printed up by my sister-in-law. We sang and prayed and then we spoke of my father. My brother, myself, my mom, my cousin and two of my dad’s best friends made short speeches.

I basically said that, even though I truly ache every day to see my dad again… Even though I am sad and I miss him so much… It is a testament to him that this last year has still been happy and wonderful. My dad was so positive and full of joy and he would be devastated if we didn’t honor him by following in his footsteps. So we have.

My dad’s best friend said that my father was the bravest man he ever met. He was brave in how he faced his illness, how he faced his death, and in how he loved his family and friends. I will remember those words always.

The ceremony was about thirty minutes and it was a perfect, fitting tribute to him.  It’s another tradition that someone smart once of thought of, because it was at the same time sad and joyous, celebratory and cathartic.

An unveiling is supposed to mark the end of mourning and the beginning of “getting back to living.” I am not ready to stop mourning, but I got back to living a long time ago. And that is because of my beautiful dad.

I love you, Daddy. For always.