My father died 11 years ago today, and I was going to show you pictures of the gravesite, but in some home construction project, we’ve tidied up and I can’t find them. Maybe in six months, they will turn up.
In truth, those were pictures of my mother’s burial back in February that I wanted to show. Since my father died, I’ve been to his gravesite only twice since, before my mother’s interment. When I’d go down to Charlotte, NC to visit my mom and sister, we’d talk about going. But it wasn’t just a hop in the car across town, it was nearly an hour away, at the Salisbury National Cemetery Annex, VA Section 8, grave 358. And once we got there, we’d tend to stick around for a while.
In any case, for a marker of such relatively recent vintage, my father’s headstone seemed to have more than its share of wear and discoloration. At mom’s burial, the guy in charge of the cemetery told us that there would be a new stone prepared. On one side would be my father’s information, including his military service unit, and on the other side would be my mom’s info. Did we want to put anything else on the stone, for either of them? I don’t think anyone ever asked us 10.5 years earlier.
For my father’s side, it had to be short, for space considerations. We, surprisingly quickly, settled on “Renaissance Man” for him. He was a singer, guitarist, painter, writer, flower arranger, civil rights leader, church leader, (failed) businessperson, and general all-around force of nature.
For my mother’s side, we agreed to “The Wind Beneath Our Wings”, based on the related song my sister Leslie sang at both my father’s funeral (to my mom) and my mother’s.
The cemetery folks sent me a survey, asking how well the they did, how the facility looked, et al. I must say that it was all great.