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of flowers and worms

we went to the cemetery this morning because my brother's birthday was on thursday and my dad's death anniversary was today.

it was a little startling to realize we hadn't been there in ages. in fact, we had been away for so long that the grass had grown in over the in-ground vases. while cam and my mom valiantly dug around for them, paul and i went for a walk to look for what he called "secret drains" (i guess you could say that those vases -- when not in use, they fit upside down into tubes in the ground -- look kind of like drains, but the idea is rather gruesome to contemplate).

when we returned, they were were still hard at work unearthing those vases. locating them was only half the battle. the tubes had filled with mud (and worms!) that served to lock those damned vases in place. cam bent a hammer trying to pull one out. they ended up only digging up three of the four (my brother had two on his grave at his grandmother's request) because it was just too much work. at least each of the graves would have flowers. nobody would be left out.

we put the flowers together in a hurry. it was already so hot ("i was hoping the sun wouldn't come out," said my mom) and paul was bored (bored enough to want to walk into the street). then we went to breakfast at a hof's hut in cerritos. paul flirted madly with the waitress. i rolled my eyes.

it's interesting to see what distance does... a day formerly wrought with such sorrow eventually becomes just slightly greater than commonplace. in the earlyearly hours of september 10, 1998, i had a father who breathed. snap your fingers and i didn't. crossing the chilly parking lot to the garish warmth of a local hospital it took me years afterwards to look at squarely -- seeing a shell of a man with tubes poking through here and there -- being asked if we wanted those tubes removed -- saying no -- changing our minds -- having our request refused because the proper authorities! needed to see them because he hadn't been in the hospital 24 hours before dying.

how is it that something so heartwrenching is now "celebrated" with pancakes and hasty flower arranging? i miss my dad.

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