…it’s time now, for this significant man to be honored in a noteworthy and much deserved tribute of his influential and meaningful life…a necessary tribute to say out loud. It’s time for me to share my Dad and his grace by which he lived…and chose to die.
It was a joke between Dad and I, of what epitaph would be on his headstone. It was a discussion that we had, of all places, in the hospital cafeteria. I think it started when I commented on a rather ironic sight of a man plugged into a portable IV while sitting in a wheelchair wearing brand new looking sneakers. He was wearing a hospital issued gown and ratty looking housecoat that didn’t cover enough of his legs. He somehow balanced a food tray on his lap instead of the table he was at. On the tray was a plate of fried foods, rainbow jello cup, granola bar and a pack of cigarettes with a lighter under his tapping fingers. We decided he was in the right place for whichever got him first.
It was an odd feeling to be looking into my Dad’s eyes and trying to be more imaginative than him, about him gone. But that was our time and ironically, our escape from his mortality.
We both had a little fun with this epitaph exercise of futility because Dad was never going to have a headstone. He didn’t want one. But, I have always thought that Dad is deserving of being etched, if not in stone, then in our memory of his existence. So, forevermorre, Dad will be celebrated and remembered in my HeadStone Tribute epitaph.
I had asked you how you wanted to be remembered….
So, here it is. No words to stone, but my words to paper which flowed with ease. Tears came freely to my eyes, while smiles crossed my lips often. I miss you. But I found you in every word and every picture, and you were waiting in my memories. We always had in each other that which was never lost, just quiet at times…our truth shared and embraced.
As I wrote this, I realized there are moments through this tribute that I flip back and forth between present and past tense; first and third person about my Dad. I talk as though he’s still here; as though you’re still here, Dad.
I speak to you in first person, in present time. I guess, in a way, as I write this epitaph, you are sitting right beside me. Like our time together on your hospital bed. Just talking and remembering…