The one-year anniversary of my father’s death is later this month. I’m not sure how I will mark the day or if I will do anything special. This past weekend in his upstate New York hometown I attended the funeral of one of his best friends who was like an uncle in my life. When I arrived at the Syracuse airport, it was like being a familiar stranger in a town where I no longer have a home, or parents to meet me. I rented a car and made a first stop at my parents’ grave. I was surprised to find the green wreath I placed there at holiday time now brown… I removed it – I guess I beat the spring clean-up crew to the task.
I called my aunt Kathryn and was happy she was available to meet me at a cafe. We enjoyed lunch there before I made the 2.5 hour drive up to New York’s North Country.
When I made it to my father’s hometown on the St. Lawrence Seaway, I drove through the old neighborhood, past my grandmother’s home where my dad and his sister were raised, where I was brought as a young child and remembered riding ’round the block with my bike and it’s pink streamers. I noticed the sign and building for the corner store (where we got popsicles) was still in good condition, but was now for sale.
I spent a night at a local hotel on the river and the constancy of the river’s flow gave me a sense of comfort.
I cried at the funeral and was glad to have tissues in my clutch. The emotional release allowed me to grieve at a new level that felt cathartic. On the way out of the church, I noticed a Poor Box, something I’d heard about before but don’t remember seeing.
The family who knew my father well shared some fun stories about him, which were nice to hear. It was good to be with them. On return to Syracuse, I visited with my family there and tended to my uncle Frank’s memorial garden.
Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,