Today was Father's Day and a hard one for me. We -- David and I, and David much more than I -- did not give much weight to the Hallmark holidays. We dutifully sent cards to our parents, but so many times more because of guilt and duty than out of real affection. A proclaimed day to honor parents has just never sat well with us.
Still, for each other, there have been, since Cheshire was born, little festivities. Small cards and tokens between us and from us through the girls to us. This year, I did not want the day to go unmarked because Julia has missed David so much and she is only beginning to understand and remember holidays. She has, for months now, been interested in the cemetery that we pass as we drive to clinic and I decided that I would use that place to do something for Father's Day.
We bought balloons -- Julia picked out a blue one and a green one; I picked the white one. I thought we would walk awhile, talk some about David, and then let the balloons go as a gift to him. But those were my thoughts and did not take measure of what Julia would want.
We took out balloons and walked. Julia wanted to read the grave stones. We walked in a very old part of the cemetery, most people buried there were born and died before any of my relatives were on this side of the Atlantic. I noted couples -- when the first died and when the second. Two years, five year, 15 years. I wanted to take measure of that time between the deaths -- wanted to know what the surviving spouse had done between the death of their beloved and their own demise. I did not even think to wonder about this before. It is true that most of the deaths of spouses that were close in time were for couples who were older -- but then was 50 older in 1850? I wanted to ask the survivors if they had made an effort to go on? If they had lived life to the fullest after their spouse died, or did they let themselves die as well? My mother and my paternal grandmother fall into the later category. I need some other role models. My maternal grandmother lived for decades after her husband died when her girls were 7 and 9. She raised them, saw them grown, with families of their own before she died. But I have no idea of her mind. We never had anywhere near a conversation and my mother had nothing to say about those years.
Julia has a whole other mission. She found a small tomb with BABY printed on it and became very interested in the graves of children. It is not hard in an old cemetery to find children's graves. We found a few with little lambs carved on top. And so, when it came time to release the balloons for Daddy, Julia decided that the children needed to play with balloons more than Daddy needed to have any. And so, we tied balloons -- one on each of three children's graves -- to the lambs and around the stones. This is a part of the cemetery that does not seem to be much visited. We saw no one else walking around within out sights the entire time we were there. I like to think that there are 3 balloons bobbing and blowing on three little graves. Three children who died more than 100 years ago. Three children thought of by a child missing her Daddy.