A year after my dad's passing, I discovered something...
About two weeks ago, my husband and I traveled to Florida to attend my father's unveiling. That is a Jewish ceremony to mark the one-year anniversary of his death. Unveiings are held at the cemetery, and for the better part of a year, I had been dreading it.
I'd spent most of the year in a teary blur, tortured by the feeling that I had "left" my father in the cemetery, hidden, and out of sight for all eternity. As crazy as it sounds, I cannot even count the number of times I have simply wanted to "go and get him" out of there, even though I obviously knew that this was not possible. Nonetheless, it was how I felt.
The funny thing is, that even during this foggy, miserable year, I have felt my father around me... constantly. I have heard his laughter and can often hear his response to funny things that my son or husband has said to me. I can hear him tell the punchline of a joke I still cannot pull off, and have seen his mannerisms in my son and in myself. In short, he has been with me this entire time.
A funny thing happened at the unveiling. While I was trying to not have the world fall out from under me as I reluctantly joined my family members gathered by his headstone, I realized something: I realized that my father was not there, that the cemetery was simply a place where he had been laid to rest. I knew in my heart that my father had been with me every single day of the past year and in every place I was during that time. More than that, I just understood that he could never be taken from me.
And so to any of you who are also grieving, I offer you this: It will take time, but peace will come. You will get there. It will never take the place of your loss and it will never make that loss less meaningful. But, the peace will fill you with the knowledge that someone you loved still lives within you and that they shall always be with you.