I was depressed this morning when I woke up and didn’t know what to do with myself – the neighbor’s barking dog, tractors, loud trucks and lawn mowers suffocating me with noise. I had to go somewhere to find some peace.
So, I packed a salad lunch and went to visit you at the cemetery.
It was a glorious sky blue day, with a warm breeze that embraced my presence. I could not have chosen a more perfect place to visit to lift my spirits.
Christopher has recently dug a rectangular hole here. He is pouring a 2 X 5 cement foundation for your memorial stone which is finished now. I arrived to find his display of old finishing trowels and carpenter’s pencils set intentionally as if he was preparing an altar. I had tears imagining him doing this work alone out here. The rest of us come to visit. He does the work. . . your youngest son who carries your gift of masonry. We all help to take care of things in our own ways.
Some are just more painful that others.
I sat and ate my salad. “Rabbit food”, you would call it. You never did like to eat salad all that much, and despised mom when she set it in front of you – meat, a potato, a pickle and bread – your meal of choice. I should have brought chocolate cake – you would have liked that I was having that. Next time.
I let mom know I was here and that I’d come to visit her after. She was on her way home from Mahnomen. Sunday church. I scolded her the last time she went to Mahnomen to church – for fear of the caronavirus. But, twice now, she hasn’t gone in. She drives there and notices there are so many cars and gets nervous, so she just lets the young people go in and she sits in her car. I assume she listens to church then on the radio or her phone, maybe she just sits there and prays, I didn’t ask her this. I should ask more questions, I know. . .
She then goes to the grocery store and this Sunday, stopped at a greenhouse to get some flowers for Amelia to plant. The lady at the greenhouse gave her some for free because her husband has brain cancer and she has to close the greenhouse now, and she can’t do it alone. (sigh) We all are going through something. We are reminded of this every day. “Open Secrets”, Rumi called this – all of us trying to navigate our way through the world carrying stuff. We try to hide it from others, but when we share it out in the open, our lives change.
Christopher was working on his red work truck, crawled underneath wearing cut off jean shorts, black socks up to his knees almost, holes in them and his work boots on. No shirt. He was at this summer time weight, I could tell. Working in the heat does that to both he and Shawn, I know. Mom yelled at him that it didn’t look safe under there. He assured her that he had back up blocks so the truck would not roll backwards off the ramps and flatten him.
“Ma – can you get me the black electrical tape? It’s on the gear shift in the truck!” he hollered.
She poked around in there a bit but couldn’t find it, asked a few questions and finally, he just crawled out from under the truck and got it himself.
“I was afraid she was going to touch something that she shouldn’t,” he said to me.
“Do you even know what you are doing under there?” she asked.
“Yah!” he shouted.
“Do you know for sure it’s the starter?” she questioned.
“No -” he said.
“Then why are you taking it out?” she asked.
“Well, I gotta try something!” he says back.
Then, he went on to explain what he was doing and why it was a difficult job (because the starter is in a stupid place and you have to make special tools to take it out). He showed us how he used electrical tape to attach two tools together. He used lots of words Mom and I didn’t understand. He wasn’t cranky and he didn’t seem to need our help. Which was nice.
Watching the two of them made me grateful he is there.
I think they are going to be okay, Dad.