Back before I lost someone close to me, I thought it was strange when people would have picnics in the cemetery. I thought – that’s not where they are. That’s not how they should be remembered.
Then I lost my dad to lung cancer in June 2019 – coming up on the two year anniversary this week.
We went on a walk the other day when my sister was home with her kiddos. We’ve got a beautiful dam in Waucoma. Carver rode his bike, we walked the dogs. Carver asked if we could go see Papa Moo’s rock (my dad’s grave) across town.
It’s a pretty regular occasion when we go out to the cemetery. It is just on the outskirts of town – right next to a corn field and the ball park. I’m always willing to go but I don’t know what to do when I get there. Say hi? Cry? Laugh? I usually clean off the grass and bird poop if there’s some there.
Today was one of Kelli’s first(ish) visits with Georgia. She’s been talking a lot about Papa Moo lately after Kelli reads her the book we made about him. It was the twins’ first time too.
We didn’t talk to him but I’ll admit I got a little teary cleaning off the grass. Carver climbed up on top of his grave stone and I had half a thought to stop him but that’s exactly what he would do to dad if he was here.
And we took pictures. And we hung out for a bit. And we were those people I thought were weird hanging out with a rock in a cemetery. Then it occurred to me: This is all we have. If we want new memories, this is it. If we want to keep Dad a regular part of our lives, this is it. It feels like too much to stop and sit with a rock and then not enough all at the same time.
So maybe you’re one of those people who think parties and picnics in cemeteries are a little strange. Maybe it isn’t your jam but for us, other than revisiting old memories, this is all we have left.
You can read more about Dad’s final resting place on my mom’s blog here: https://www.joscountryjunction.com/final-resting-place/
My Dad’s caner was discovered through a routine CT scan. If you are 55 years or older and currently smoke or have quit smoking in the past 10 years, please ask your doctor if you qualify for an annual low dose CT scan to screen for lung cancer. The test takes less than 30 seconds and can save your life.