Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

I went to the cemetery with my mom yesterday to go visit my dad's little spot of ground. We brought along some of the younger kids and enjoyed just watching the other visitors as they came and went while we sat there at dad's grave.

Hubba was with us and he quickly recognized the name on the gravestone as his own (he is named after my dad and has been learning to write his name). "Hey, that's MY name!" he pointed out. "Yes, Hubba," I told him, "remember how I told you that you are named after my dad? This is his grave."

Hubba has heard stories about my dad many times. He knows that he died. We have brought him to the cemetery before. But apparently this time he was old enough for it to all sink in. "Grandpa Hubba died? That makes me so sad," he remarked. And then as he looked around at the cemetery, he started to cry. "All of these people died? All of the graves are for people who died? Why did so many people have to die?"

So there I sat, amidst the coming and going of so many other people who were there to visit the final resting place of their loved ones, trying to explain the inevitability, pain, unexpectedness... but also hope in death to my tender-hearted 5-year-old boy. I told him how it was amazing that he even took on the characteristics of my dad as a little boy - the white-blonde hair and spunky personality. I ended by telling him that I named him after my dad because I loved my dad so much and I wanted to be able to remember him every day. How every time I say Hubba's name or look at him it makes me happy.

Hubba wiped his eyes on his sleeve and gave me a hug. "Does it make Grandma happy, too, to see me when she misses Grandpa?" I assured him that it did.

As we stood to leave, Hubba grabbed my mom's hand to walk to the car. He looked up at her and said, "I love you, Grandma." She smiled and squeezed his hand, a way she and my dad used to communicate their love for each other. I couldn't help but be filled with emotion when I saw the two of them walking hand-in-hand.

I like to think that Dad was pleased, too.