I stood by marker 815. Black ink hand scrawled onto a little orange flag. The stick that hoisted the flag buried deep within the season’s snow that blanketed the graves underfoot. After journeying 33 kilometres, it was as close as I could come. Dad is in plot 812 but as all the other flags were bereft of their identification — the elements having erased their markings — I was uncertain as to where dad lay.
I stood alone in the cemetery on this grey winter morn. I had run over 3 and a half hours to get here. I stood and I remembered my father.
I had come months before. My mother and my partner alongside me. Then, I had caught a glimpse of dad sitting on a bench shading himself under the cover of a red maple from the hot summer sun. Much as he would have done when he strode across this land in human form. My mother saw him as well.
He’s looking right at you Rodney
I didn’t see him today. But I know he was there. I could feel him all around me. His presence beckoning me from my home this morning as I made my way through first dry city streets and then suburban avenues still laden with ice and snow.
My pace was conservative as I wend my way through Toronto. My mind drifting to memories. Dad sitting on the porch with ice cream floats for me and him on a hazy summer afternoon. His hand enfolding mine as a small child out to go grocery shopping. And then the elderly man who toddled his way to the aisle of my graduation ceremony, camera in hand, smile of fatherly pride adorning his beaming visage.
I would stand by Marker 815 at Resthaven Memorial. As close as I could assuredly be to where dad lay. Not to say Goodbye. For I have never said goodbye. But to visit. To say hello. To remember. And to be with dad.