Today we drove about 20 minutes north to a place where you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains and a lovely river. The sun was shining (finally) and the sky was blue. I don’t remember seeing any clouds. It was an amazingly beautiful day – so completely opposite of the past few days.
I drove with Dad in the front seat and Jamie and Jillian in back. Dad was pointing his directions to me (even though I live here and he doesn’t – don’t worry, I didn’t argue with him, I took lots of deep breaths).
We found ourselves on a very winding road that went over the river and gave us lovely views. We drove until we saw our last name on a sign that told us we needed to be in Lane Number Two. As we waited for someone to take us to the assigned place, the cars in Lane Number One kept adding up.
Our lane was empty except for us – but that’s okay, its how we wanted it. Our host’s name was Caroline and she was very sweet. She drives a long way each day to get to work, but says that she loves her job.
When we got to the pavilion there were flowers everywhere… but they were there by mistake. We waited while some other guy picked them up (clumsily) and brought them to his van. He had to make a few trips.
Dad laid everything out on a stand (covered with indoor/outdoor carpet) which was standing underneath the seals of each of the armed forces. He put your urn on top of the latest issue of People magazine, just like he did a year ago. We put pictures around you – of all of us together – all the kids, a small Statue of Liberty (we both love the same statue, you know), a copy of the poem that was read at your memorial, trinkets you had with you at the hospital, and pennies that Dad has collected for a year – each one a sign from you to him. It was a lot of stuff! It reminded me of Dad’s computer desk… lots of trinkets and things around, but I guess you’re used to that.
Dad had me take pictures of this little set-up. I wouldn’t have done it if he didn’t ask me to. I felt a little strange, but I guess that’s okay. Jamie took some close-up shots. She started crying and Caroline asked her if she was the middle child. How did she know?
Jillian kept it cool – like she always does – and I stayed pretty detached, more concerned with how Jamie and Jillian were doing. Dad said a few words – which made us feel awkward – okay, it made me feel awkward for sure, I don’t know about them… but, you know how he is.
It was cold in the shade and Jamie was shivering. (she didn’t bring a sweater) We sat for a few minutes and then Caroline came back. She explained what was going to happen next.
We picked up your urn, the pictures, and all the other little things and walked over to the cambriolas (I think that’s what they’re called). We found your spot (on the top) and put the stuff and you in there. I’m not sure there’s going to be enough room for Dad, but we’ll figure that out later.
Dad told me to take another picture – so I did… then two guys put the temporary marble covering over your place. There’s a plastic tag there now with your name on it, but soon it will be engraved. Caroline said it would take six weeks.
We said good-bye to you again and that sucked. We read a lot of the other peoples’ cambriola plackards – some were very creative – and we decided what yours was going to say. I think you’d be happy with it.
We drove back into town and went to lunch at Moe’s. Jamie, Jillian and I went to Moe’s on the anniversary of the day you died. Weird tradition, huh? Death and burritos. (but we like the burritos & the green chili salsa)
Being together is good, but sad. There’s a huge piece missing each time – more noticeable when Dad is around.
We miss you.
I miss you.
I’m sorry there weren’t any flowers for you. We didn’t know what to expect. I will bring some daisies for you next time, I promise.