Families all have their strange little rituals that bond them in their own unique way, and ours is no exception. Today would have been our Dad’s 78th birthday. Even though Dad died in 2008 we still continue to celebrate his birthday with him. I realize that a lot of people celebrate loved ones who have passed, but our celebration is a little on the different side.
My second Mom is Asian so they have a completely different view on how to honor those who have passed. My sister, and I are not completely certain if all other Asians share this practice. We are sure that some of our ritual probably is, and we are even more certain that Mom puts her own special spin on the rest. So in about an hour we will take an hour and a half drive north to the Veteran’s Cemetery where we had Dad buried. There is actually one right in the town where we live only twenty minutes away, but at the time of Dad’s death they only had plots available for those who chose to be cremated. Something Dad had very strong opinions about (another story I will right about some day), but this is enough strangeness for one morning.
I know it’s not unusual for people to visit a loved ones grave, and show up with their favorite flowers, red roses in Dad’s case he was a traditionalist in this respect.What makes our little ritual so strange is that we will sit on his grave, and have lunch with him. This lunch will consist of several of his favorite things- a Big Mac, french fries, strong black coffee, and cheesecake. The really strange thing here will be the fact that our mother will insist on setting a place for Dad including his own food, and drink. I can tell you from past experiences this is something that does not escape the attention of other visitors. Once a caretaker actually asked us why we set a place for Dad. I was amused by his curiosity, my sister who is slightly less tolerant of the curiosity of strangers replied “Because it’s rude to eat all of his favorites without including him!”
Mom smiled nodding in agreement, not picking up on my sister’s sarcasm, and I rolled with laughter. This is a classic example of our family dynamic. Truth be told my Dad probably would have found Mom’s ritual to be nothing short of strange. It would have embarrassed him in much the same way it does my sister. We love our Mom so we do whatever she asks us to do. She does not ask for much. I have to tell you that I always get the strange feeling that Dad is there with us, and that he can’t help, but be amused by the whole ritual. I also think he is as touched by our Mom’s immense love for him as we are. 😉