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Browsing Tag: Arlington National Cemetery

Four Years

We went to Arlington cemetery to visit someone I love dearly.  He resides there, now, right next to the visitor’s center, which he would have loved, considering how he would talk to complete strangers like they were old buddies. We only stop by a couple times a year, though. It’s hard to see it, this place. Hard to qualify the name on the stone with the person I see reflected in my own features every time I look in the mirror.  It’s difficult to acknowledge the concrete truth that’s engraved along with his name and those two dates, even when I see my mom standing alone beside it. People die. They get sick, they get old, they encounter tragedy or a fluke of timing. We’ll all have to do it. We’ll have to leave the ones we love, or be the ones left behind. It’s just how it goes. Those of us with faith in something beyond this sphere believe that it’s all temporary, but that’s sometimes hard to wrap your brain around when you’re delivering a eulogy. Dad is…

Okay, Then

When my grandmother passed away this past December, we prepared to take the girls to Maryland for her wake and funeral. Saoirse just happened to have a doctor’s appointment around this time, and I asked her pediatrician for advice on explaining what we were about to do. He told me simply, “You don’t have to explain anything to her. If she asks, just tell her that Grandmom went to heaven.” I remember looking at Saoirse, then back at him. But she’s only three, I told him. Isn’t that sort of an abstract idea for a three-year-old? The good doctor shrugged before he replied: “Isn’t it an abstract idea for any of us?”    Flash-forward to today. We were at Arlington National Cemetery paying a visit to the grave of my dear dad (who’s parked right next to the visitor’s center, by the way. Cannot imagine a more appropriate place for my über-friendly father). Saoirse spotted the powerful Air Force Memorial as we moved through the cemetery. “I remember that!,” she exclaimed, eyeing the soaring spires. &#8220…

Three Years

It was three years ago today, around 4:16 in the morning (yes, 4:16 on 4/16. We really should play that number in the lottery) that my father died in an ICU at Hershey Medical Center here in Pennsylvania. I don’t say “passed away” or “passed on,” or some other tidy little term for the ending of his life, because he didn’t just fade away. He died. Pancreatic cancer got its gnarled, evil hooks into him, and even though he fought it–fought it hard, fought it gracefully, fought it with more strength and class than I can wrap my head around yet–the cancer won. I watched my dad die. I wouldn’t recommend it. It was kind of hard. I miss him. Every day, I miss him. My dad and I butted heads a lot (any of my family reading this right now probably just snorted their agreement), but my gosh, I loved him. He was my go-to guy for books, for talking about writing, for cooking. I remember what a hard time he had when I decided to turn vegetarian at the age…