I saw a lot of life today

Tomorrow is June 3rd. Tomorrow is the day my dad died. Tomorrow it will have been 17 years since he passed. Tomorrow will be a hard day. I have to say when I went to the cemetery today, and as I sat there listening to the wind chimes on the grave behind dad’s, I felt at peace. Usually when I go, I start crying right away and just am overcome with emotions. Today was different. I’m not sure why.

I have been reflecting a lot on life lately and how we live our lives. Am I really living my life? I found out this week that a classmate (Jans Melby) from high school has cancer and is dying. Gut punch. It doesn’t seem like any of us are old enough to die.

As I was sitting at the cemetery, I started looking around. For some reason I have always been intrigued with cemeteries. There is just something about them, other than the fact they are filled with dead people. It’s more than that. They are full of people. They are full of moms, dads, sisters, brothers, babies, aunts and uncles and grandparents. They are full of memories. They are full of life!

I got up and started walking around. I saw my classmate’s parents, Peter and Carole. I can remember them. I’m glad Jans will get to be with them soon.

I saw another classmate too. Bryan Pogany. So young. So sad.

Next, I saw my 7th grade Algebra teacher, Mr. Crance. His name was Baird, but I can’t think of a single one of us who would dare call him by his first name. He scared the shit out of all of us. He was not the most pleasant person in the world. Still, may he continue to rest in peace.

Then I saw a stone that said “Palmer” on the back of it. At first I thought it was Mr. Palmer, the owner of Sooper Dooper, the grocery store I worked at in high school. As I came around to the front, I realized it was not him, but it was Pat Palmer. I worked with her at Sooper Dooper. She was one of the morning ladies. One of the mainstays. One of the faces of the store. I can still see her going through all the candy at the front of the store and taking an inventory so she could put the next week’s order in. She was such a nice lady. I didn’t know her name was actually Pearl. Her stone had a picture of her on it. It was like I was right there talking to her at the store. Such a great memory. I can even hear her laugh.

About this time a worker came by in his pickup and he asked me if I needed help locating someone. I said no, I was just walking around looking at all the people I know. I said I was visiting my dad and just started wandering around. I thought it was nice of him to ask.

I found Dr. Zakahi next. He was my doctor when I was a kid. It was like he walked right up to me. I can see him in his gray pants and plaid shirt, black shoes and white doctor coat. I remember him always making us feel calm. A sweet, sweet man.

Then I found Danna Bren. I went to high school with Lloyd and Danna’s  kids. I remember leaving study hall with Troy and going to his house with some other guys and playing basketball. I was always one of the guys. Not so much one of the girls. Definitely not a girly girl.

Up the hill a little I saw the “Adam” stone. Pat Adam. An amazing lady. I spent quite a bit of time at their house. Their daughter, Paula, was in my grade and my friend, Mary, and I hung out with Karl. So many memories of that family.

I found Shirley next. Shirley Raue. The legendary daycare in town. Everyone went to Shirley’s. I trusted her to raise my first three kids. She was the best babysitter. Hands down. Such a great influence on kids. She was amazing. A great, great lady.

I was wondering where to go next and something made me turn where I wasn’t going to. I looked up and saw the “Mayer” stone. Eugene Mayer was one of my bosses for my very first legal secretary job. He always wore a bow tie. I’m glad I took that turn. Lots of great memories working for that firm.

There was a lot of life in this cemetery visit. So many memories of so many great people. As I’m typing this, now the tears are flowing. As sad as it is to lose loved ones, it still makes me happy to know that I have a lot of special memories of life I have lived.

My dad ALWAYS said that at his funeral he wanted it to rain so that he would be the only dry one and everyone else would be wet. The day of his funeral we had record high temps. I know it was well over 100 and it seems like it was 112 or even hotter. He got his wish because when it came time to lay him to rest, everyone was drenched in sweat and he was the only dry one. As I got in my car to leave today, the temp read 100. I was sweating bad. I started laughing out loud, right along with him. Until next time, Dad.


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