It is almost inconceivable to me that today marks Daddy’s third death anniversary.
Time has flown bye and I feel as though he is still very much around. Perhaps I can no longer pick up the phone and call home to find out what he is up to today, or listen to his stories of the people he visited as a lay minister. Sometimes it was hilarious just to let him ramble on about Mommy’s latest goof-ups.
The more I think of death, the more I like the idea of not having a grave anywhere. Now that I am alone and don’t have to be buried next to a spouse anymore, I have cart blanche of how and where I want to be buried. My daughter and my best friend have my final instructions, and that is enough. Here’s the thing. We spend a small fortune saving up for death, the small plot in a cemetery or a columbarium, but what on earth for? Only to be dug up in 100 years and used as worm food? Plant fertiliser at best, but two generations after me are not going to give a hoot anymore about my grave or even know who the blazers I was. No, I prefer not to fade into tragic neglect and anonymity.
When was the last time you took a walk around a cemetery? Lucky are the graves that are well taken care of, lovingly visited regularly by the loved ones. But what about those, like in my case, where I live in one continent and my dearly departed in another? why would I spend 1200 EUR to fly home to visit cold marble and unseen ashes? Those are not my parents. It is the living memories and legacies that I carry with me that matter most.
Grief is never easy, and we grieve in different manners, some longer and some less than others, depending on how you parted. As far as I am concerned, Daddy’s death taught me one thing: closure. It is important to have that closure with those around you, and not just at death when hasty deathbed promises are made.
Each time I work with my tools or water my plants I think of Daddy. My obsession with planning things to the last detail or making lists comes from him. My dislike of shallow, brainless people is heavily influenced by him, as is a good ear for the car engine. Much of what I do on a daily basis is part and parcel of my father’s legacy, and that keeps the memories alive. Most of all, pigeons make me smile and think of him. He loved pigeons to the extent that when he visited us in Bangkok and spotted the curious pigeons outside the kitchen window, he insisted that we feed them. Well, the three pigeons became two dozen practically overnight, and he was the happiest person on the planet! So when I run into a slow, confused pigeon around town, who seems to need explanation as to why his GPS failed, I have to smile knowingly. Daddy has sent me another message.
I stopped grieving last year, when I learned to accept that the loss of certain life anchors is not an endless abyss. We never really say good-bye to the ones we love and Death has claimed, especially parents, because we are living proof of their efforts, their legacy. I will always have pigeons.