After finishing up a run on the Monticello Trail this evening, I stopped by Monticello Memorial Park, where my Dad is buried. I instinctively turned off the radio as I entered the gates, and suddenly went from Van Halen to silence. As I eased my way around the curve toward Dad’s resting place, a fawn sprinted across the road, headed for the woods.
I pulled up alongside the plot, parked, and got out of the car. Dad’s marker was just a few yards up the hill. I walked up to it, and admired its simple elegance and truth.
“Husband, Father, Grandfather, Teacher of Many.” My father in six words. My mother had sought out family input on the details of Dad’s visitation, his service, and his obituary, but she handled the selection and inscription of the marker on her own. What a marvelous job she did.
I knelt down and began pulling out the grass and clover that had begun to hang over the edges of the marker, and smiled as I thought of the countless times that I had seen Dad reach down and pull up a weed – whether it be in his yard, my yard, or some random place with a patch of grass that needed tending to. I picked up the handful of broken seashells that someone had left on the marker as a token – knowing, no doubt, of Dad’s love for the beach – and wiped off a splatter of mud that had landed there in one of the recent rainstorms.
I continued to putter for a while, pulling a weed here, wiping off a smudge there, knowing full well that the fruit of my efforts would be temporary, and noticed by few if any. I could almost hear Dad saying “go on home, son, you’re wasting time, don’t worry yourself with that.” I knew, though, that had Dad been in my position, he would have been doing the exact same thing.
And that’s what made it worth doing.