This is where I grew up from the summer before 7th grade until I fled to college.
On the trip to my sister's for the 4th we took a road trip. We drove down to see my step-brother. I will try to tell this coherently but it's still a whirling mess in my brain.
On the drive down, we drove by my old stomping grounds. I was appalled at the distances my mom had let me walk - alone - at night. This is the house where most of the evil took place.
It has changed. The cedar wood siding was replaced with vinyl. The windows have been updated. The door was replaced. The window by my bedroom is the same. You can see where the station wagon used to park - oil stains still.
I shivered as we drove by, but also realized it was just a house.
We drove on to my father's grave. My step-brother told us that there had been problems with the ground sinking in the rain. Until that was fixed, no gravestone could be erected. He told us it was the fresh grave in the back. Sister and I walked toward the back of the graveyard and saw a new gravesite with flowers and a heart-shaped, red, white & blue hanging basket. We talked about the fact that it meant Rita must have been there for the 4th of July already. We walked around to see pictures and the marker....it wasn't him. It was someone else. We looked further and there it was.
No flowers. No pictures. The marker is a cut-out from the funeral home webpage. It is on a funeral home marker. The funeral home must have put it there.
Father's Day was just a few weeks ago. Graves of other fathers are covered in flowers and momentos. His grave - nothing.
Sister and I felt a bit bad about not brining flowers. So we picked a few from the church gardens. My nephew and daughter stuck them in the grave dirt in rows. We met my step-brother and his wife there. Alex didn't even look at the grave much. One of the kids stepped in the dirt and Sister and I moved to grab them. Alex said, "ah don't worry about it." He didn't have much attachment to the site.
Sister and I thought about leaving a picture of us on the site as a message to Rita that we had been there. We decided not to though - because we didn't have one of the two of us with us.
Sister and I reminisced about what her husband had told Dad in their last phone conversation back in 2002. BIL told Dad, "you are going to die a cold, lonely man. When you are dead and in the grave, there will be no one to mourn you. You will die alone." And he did.