Mar 14, 2003 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in Building SuppliesThe Bottom Line Don't dwell on the loss. Focus on the LIFE!
At a gathering at his house in July 1992, my Dad told me that when he died, he wanted to be cremated, and pointed out a specific tree on his property where he wanted his ashes left.
I took this less seriously than I should have. I was 20 years old, had the weight of my own selfish concerns on my shoulders, and although Dad was in his fifties, he was lean and fit, ate right, and exercised regularly; a tri-athlete to be precise. I didn't have to worry about Dad dying any time soon. After all, I had news ... wasn't that more important?
In late September 1992, I lost my dad to head injuries and complications after a serious bicycle accident in early August. The accident occurred just two days before I was planning to have dinner with him and tell him that I was engaged to be married, something I had wanted to tell him in July and was too concerned with waiting for just the right moment.
When he passed away, all useable organs were donated, and Dad was cremated, according to his wishes.
When I want to honor him, I cannot place flowers on a grave with a tombstone - but he would not have wanted me to.
Instead, I can plant a tree, help a turtle across a busy road, recycle something, smell (and not pick! sorry Dad!) a wildflower, pick up trash someone dumped, or even just go fishing.
He wanted to be remembered for his life, not his death or his grave.
When I want to grieve, or just talk to him, I can find him in the sky, the breeze, the earth, the water.
There is a physical place I can go, but that place where his ashes are scattered is not necessary to me to feel close to him.
Overall, I'm glad we did things the way we did, the way he wanted it.
Now it's nine years later, and my kids want to know about Grandpa C. What do I say? How can I tell them what happened in a way they can understand?
I don't want to scare them. I worry that they will fear their own dad will die when they are still young. I worry that they will be scared of dying in an accident.
So when the questions start, I think of something special that I did with Dad. There was steelhead fishing on Lake Manistee. There were horseback rides and horse shows. There was feeding the catfish at the pond. There were downhill skiing trips and walks in the woods. ... Also, there was me catching him skinny-dipping. There was him catching me in the hayloft too. Okay, some things will have to wait until my kids are a LOT older!!
Sometimes they want direct answers about the accident, and I tell them what they want to know, without giving them more information than they need. They know I miss him a lot, but that Grandpa C is in heaven now, and we will all see him someday.
He would have turned 68 this week. It's hard to believe he's been gone over ten years.
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