Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Happy Birthday in Heaven

This was Dad's first birthday in Heaven. Of course, us all down here had to do our own thing.

I drove out to Springfield, and Mom & I stopped at St. Stanislaus Cemetery. We dropped flowers on her parents, Bachi & Jaju for me, then stopped by Dad's grave and dropped flowers there. A carnation that Mom gave to me, and a rose from her. It was overgrown with crab grass and weeds, so I yanked it out with a fervor. Mom said I was throwing the crap as far as 6 feet away. I didn't notice; I wanted it clean. I used a swatch of the dry crab grass like a broom to whisk away all the dirt and debris from his flat, bronze military marker. Mom said to be careful; my brother had cut his fingers on the lettering last time he cleaned it off. I didn't cut myself - a miracle considering the klutz I am.

In retrospect, I should have taken a picture; it was the first time I saw the grave with the stone.

I remember taking pictures of other people's stones when Mom was looking for the right one for Dad.

I remember taking pictures of "pretty" stones and memorable stones I come across in other cemeteries - and stones that might promise ghost pictures.

I have a picture of Dad in the casket… it's a strange tradition in my family, pictures of people in the casket. My brother finds it creepy and disturbing, but my mother & I find it… I don't know… important. I don't know the feeling I associate with it, but I still have the picture somewhat handy. Along with this nice picture of him on my brother's birthday.

I will never forget… two years ago I forgot to call him on his birthday. I was at Dragon*Con, as it usually falls on his birthday. I'd promised I'd call - and I was so busy that I forgot. He was hurt and "joked" about it for a year afterward.

I made damn sure to remember to call him last birthday.

Even thought I had no idea he'd have died three days later.

When I was in Montreal, I made a stop at St. Joseph's Oratory. When I was 14 and my brother was 9 or 10, we visited there and Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre… St. Anne's was further out of the way than I could reasonably drive, but St. Joseph's is right in Montreal.

When we visited, Mom had me kneel in front of the main chapel altar, kiss the relic (a glass-encased piece of cloth), and light a candle that St. Joseph might help me find a wonderful husband.

The prayer came true.

St. Joseph is the patron of good husbands and good fathers and good workers… and many important things.

I dropped a good amount of change throughout the candle chapels for different things. At the main chapel - a tower of red and white candles ending at the foot of the larger-than-life father of Jesus - white spelling that Joseph was also the Church protector amongst the red, I lit four candles. One was separate, my personal thank-you. Then I lit three together. A white one for mom, and two red ones for my brother and me. I remembered to take a picture. I wanted to show Mom & my brother.

Today, after Mom & I visited the cemetery, the rest of the day carried on as normal. We went to lunch, we returned home for her to go over her endless "list" and for me to finagle endlessly on a dying computer that it might work just until we convince her to get a new one, and we caught up on news & family & neighborhood gossip.

I'll be at Dragon*Con on the day he had died. Fortunately, my brother will be home with Mom.

They will probably have a mostly normal day too.

I bought them both oil from the candles at St. Joseph's Oratory, and some for me, even though I still have mine from over 15 years ago when all four of us wandered the basilica's halls and said prayers for other family members, living and dead. Dad, ever intrigued by the supernatural present in real life, pointed out all the old crutches hanging on the walls. Proof that miracles happen, that there's a power beyond what we could ever understand. Proof of God.

Even at my most cynical, I can still remember the awe I shared with my parents, including my logical Dad who would constantly research, of this perfect certainty.

Love you, Daddy. Happy Birthday. I'm certain you can hear me.


A Novel Friend © 2008 by para Você | Re-design Sweet Baby Girl