Friday, August 21, 2009

Marking Time

Yesterday was my dad's birthday.
I have a history of either sending cards waaay too early
or late or sometimes I just save them for the next year
so they have a hope of being somewhat on time.
Sometimes I have to look at the postage stamp
and see how much it cost
to decipher what year I meant to send the card.
I have a card for one of my sisters that is probably a decade old.
I can tell by how cheap the stamp is.

This year I wrote a note in my dad's card that said,
"Finally got one to you on time."
and then I let the card ride around in my car for three days.
Which meant it might get there on time
or I'd have to eat crow for a while.
The card arrived yesterday, right on time!
Wonders never cease.
My dad would have had a great chuckle over
my note had the card arrived late.

In his birthday card I put a photo I'd received of
the gravestone I bought last month
for my brother Rodney's grave.
I've never heard my dad say his name.
Yesterday when I called the first thing my dad said to me was, "That was a very nice idea to put a gravestone on (momentary pause) Rodney's grave."

My dad turned 79 yesterday.
Rodney would've been 49 this year.
Doing the math I realize what a young man
my dad was when Rodney died.
He was the only one in our family
who knew where Rodney was buried
until I asked him 20 years ago.

It's taken 20 years for me to make good on the promise to put a marker on Rodney's grave. I am so glad my parents are still alive to see the promise fulfilled.

My parents go for coffee with a group of cronies twice a week.
Today is one of those days.
I sit here wondering
if my mom slipped the photo in her purse
to show her sister
or if his memory will always be


Cat said...

I cannot imagine what ripping and tearing must happen in a parents mind and heart after such a tragic loss of a child, no matter the age.

Like you I am often late or early with birthday wishes. Good for you on being right on time!

VICKI IN AZ said...

Owen said...

Mostly from the two of us.

Susan M DeAngelis said...

I'm laughing because me and my daughter do the same thing. We have a huge card collection -- the ones we bought but never mailed.

My prayers are with your loss, your family's loss. I can't imagine surviving the loss of a child.

Thank you for your heartfelt share.

Prayer Girl said...

God bless Rodney and all who love him.


Wine and Words said...

A touching moment. Sometimes it's so hard to speak hurt and loss out loud. Hope your mom passed the photo...spoke the name.

Lou said...

Gosh, that is touching about your father never saying your brother's name. I can understand that.

Tall Kay said...

The death of a newborn is so very tragic. It's sad that your parents didn't have the support of a fellowship to help them overcome their grief. It is such a kind, loving thing for you to get the gravestone. I'm sure it touched them deeply.

annie said...

I too am glad your parents were alive to see the promise fulfilled.

Evelyn said...

Ah, yes. I can relate to the birthday cards! I can't buy them too soon, or they will languish around the house and get lost. So, I wait til CLOSE to the time, then inevitably I forget. I'm afraid my father and stepmother do not quite have the sense of humor to chuckle about it.
How amazingly wonderful for you to buy the headstone for your brother's grave! And yes, I know about SILENT memories. My mother died when I was 5, and I've only heard my father speak of her ONCE. That was at a family funeral, and someone else brought up her name. As we left, my father was sure to tell my sisters and me that he would never speak of her again. He's 88 years old now, and I'm trying to gather the courage to ask him (in an e-mail perhaps???) if he could find it in his heart to tell me something about her. The pain SURELY must be worse in silence!

Black Pete said...

I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, Hope, but God does move in unimaginably strange ways, and that photograph you sent might be a catalyst, something sent in the kairos time, for your parents to begin their healing. Just possible. Have yourself a great day: you did a blessing.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

What an amazing post, dear Hope you always inspire me to know that there is good and great and wonder in this world. Thank you!
love you

Ellie said...

What a beautiful moment, hearing your Dad say Rodney's name. What a gift you gave them, both with the gravestone, and your words. Beautiful.

And I too have a drawer full of un-sent cards, and some letters. What is up with that?