Wednesday, March 25, 2009


We buried my dad today.  The cemetery had been closed for the winter, and has recently reopened. As a kid, I never remember it closing--my grandmother died in February, and I recall other bitterly cold burials as well.  This closing in the winter must be a recent thing.   If you are on the receiving end of this (meaning you are a mourner) it is decidedly strange to have the funeral and the burial so far apart.   Dad has been gone for more than two months now, and emotionally, the last thing I wanted at this point was  another funeral.  So we kept it private.  

The main thing for me was the satisfaction of knowing that Dad finally returned to East Tawas.  (This is a technicality, but the funeral home where the casket was stored until the burial is in the neighboring city of Tawas City, and the cemetery is in East Tawas, where Dad, and later I, was raised.)  He definitely would have liked that part.  In India he barely knew where he was, though sometimes in more lucid moments he would say that longed to go back.  But he never said to "Tawas"  which is always where I say I am from, which is the two towns combined.  It was always "East Tawas."   During his active years, I recall Dad supporting--or at least, not opposing-- the idea of a merger between the two cities,  but in the end, his allegiance was still to the one that he had been raised in. 

Other than returning him to his "native place", as it would be called in India, I wish I could say that the burial gave me any additional closure--but it really didn't.  At times, it is still hard to believe that Dad is gone.  Other times, it seems like a long time since he has died.    Despite his now final resting place in the hometown he loved, buried between my mother and his mother, I can't help feel that Dad is out exploring some distant galaxy, or perhaps in a salon with Emily Dickinson.  His feet were firmly planted in Northern Michigan, but his interest and imagination knew no boundaries.


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