The soft green grass under my feet was still wet from the morning rain. I did not plan on walking barefoot when I opened my car door and stepped to the back retreving the flowers I had cut from my yard earlier when I woke. As a matter of fact I don’t remember making the decision at all, but my worn, dog chewed flip flops remained slightly tucked under my car as I walked the path I know so well.
It calms me to feel the earth under my feet, and as I walk to my father’s headstone I wonder why I have never thought of this before. Maybe the grass has never seemed so inviting as it did today, or maybe there was a desperation to shed one tiny layer to feel closer to him in the vast separation that death brings. I do not unlock this room of memories very often but once I have gifted myself to turn the key I can remember everything about him. His scratchy whiskers tickling my face when he kissed me goodnight, the smell of his small art room next to my bedroom when he would be working on an oil painting, his bellowing laugh and those grey, dancing, kind eyes. It is all that I can muster to slam the door shut before the river of him feels like it will wash me away.
Refusing to ever buy flowers at a store for him, I cut the offerings from my yard. Sometimes it seems like an insignificant gesture of barren, hand me down weeds but it simply does not matter. It must come from my yard, and it will be lovingly be placed in his yard of rest, a tradition of sorts. This year I was thrilled the bouquet was plump and offered a palette of colors that were bright with summer.
I walk the same path each time, I look at the names as I go by and wonder what amazing stories are behind the raised letters on the markers in the earth which hold history for us all. There is one simple marker that is just up from my Dad’s, it lets me know I am almost there and I can prepare to see his name. I have looked at my Dad’s name on the bronze marker that I picked out with my mother not long after he died over 10 years ago so many times and yet I still have to prepare myself when my eyes focus and my heart sinks.
I pull the vase out of the ground and place the flowers in what I think is the perfect arrangement, then I pour a half of a bottle of water inside. After spending time in my circle of quiet with thought and meditation, I end my visit. As I am walking away in an impulsive moment of kindness I take half the flowers from my Dad’s vase and begin the walk back to my car. I stop at the grave just up from my dad’s and struggle to pull the strangers vase from the ground, it releases and I fill it with half the flowers and the remaining water. Thank you Mr. Miller, for letting me pause here to catch my breath each time I visit my Dad.
At the end of each post for the next two months I will remind you and challenge you to post an act of kindness you experience(d) from the smallest of intentions to something that will leave or has left a lasting imprint on your life, it all matters! Maybe you will view kindness differently or help others see the world through a different lens …here is the link to share your thoughts, and remember I will make a donation to Recycled Doggies for each post, if you would rather e-mail me privately you can do so at email@example.com