Happy Birthday Dad

Today my mom and I went to lunch and then to get flowers and balloons to put at my Dad’s grave.  His real headstone arrived on Friday, and its beautiful.  Finally, his grave doesn’t look like a “make-shift” grave.  My dad has a place to rest and a headstone that gives him significance and dignity.

While at his grave, and even thinking about having been there, I have flashes of movie scenes in my head of all the characters I’ve seen visiting loved ones’ graves.  I don’t know how I became one of those characters.  I remember at his funeral thinking, “How did we get to be in a lead car?  Why are we sitting in the green covered chairs?”  It felt so impossible to connect with at the time…like I was living someone else’s life. 

I’ve been on auto pilot for a long time, taking care of my girls, helping with all the details, supporting my mom…tuning out.  Now, as I think about his illness, our last year with him, our last week with him, I feel a little like the wind got knocked out of me.  One minute I was living a life of normalcy and predictability and the next I am sitting by a grave stone in a cemetary…

How did we get here?