Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Loss of a Friend

Dear Luke,

The family went out to the cemetery today to sit by your grave. I know that you are not really there - not your true essence anyway. But there is such a special feeling at your grave site. We like to go there as often as we can.

After you first passed away, I went to "see you" everyday. I couldn't imagine that there would ever come a time when I wouldn't make my daily trips to sit by your headstone. But I have to admit, I usually only make it to the cemetery once or twice a week now. I feel you are with us in our home more than you are at the cemetery. But there's still just something about sitting by your grave. Even the kids seem to notice the special sacred feeling that we get there.

I've even made friends at the cemetery. I once wrote a post about an elderly man that I got to know while visiting you. I viewed him as a true friend. I took note of his birthday (which was written on the headstone of his wife's grave) and, knowing that he would be at her grave on that day, left him a little gift on her headstone for him. I felt a special bond with this man. We'd only talked the once and on all other occasions we merely nodded acknowledgement to each other. But he had become a part of my life, in a sense. I knew when I went to visit your grave that I would see him there, and if not, I would always expect to see fresh flowers and love notes on his wife's grave.

Today while at the cemetery, we walked over to my friend's wife's grave. I was admiring the beautiful new flowers and colorful pinwheels when I suddenly noticed that the ground had recently been cut away and the sod replaced. I stared in utter shock when I saw not only a birth date for my friend, but a death date. My friend is gone. Gone home to his wife. I am happy for him. He missed his wife deeply. But I feel a strange sense of loss and sadness at his death.

Tears welled up in my eyes and I could feel myself on the verge of crying as I stared at the headstone. Dad lovingly put his arms around me. "At least now he's happy," he reassured me.

I suppose he is. So why am I so sad? Sad about a man I hardly knew.

If you see him, Lukie, tell him hello from me. And know that, even when a person no longer lives on this earth, they are still loved. They are still thought of. They still matter.

I love you tons,


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