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  • Said goodbye to my father again today, on what would have been his 92nd birthday. I had gotten “permission” from the Rabbi to visit the grave not even six months since his passing.

    When I awoke this morning, knowing this would be a morning like no other, I dressed myself in clothes I knew Dad would have liked (“You look real sharp today, Jude!”).
    A chilly, partly cloudy morning, I drove myself the 20 minute drive to the cemetery, thankful that I live so close to him still. The winding road in to the place was a challenge at first, a sea of granite stones, some opulent, most simple. And there it was, the Family Plot marked by an iron chain one side of which was broken and resting on the ground.

    There on the closest plot to the road, and nestled next to his precious older sister’s neat and grass-covered resting place I found Dad’s grave.

    Still a dry mound of dirt and rock, signifying my Father’s place as the newest member of the Club, I noticed it easily from the road. A simple paper with his name identified it as his. I took a few moments to clear the old fallen leaves and twigs that were strewn about.

    I found you Dad.

    I took a deep breath and stood before him and the tears came easily, shaking me through my core. Happy Birthday Dad. I miss you so much.

    After a few moments of prayer, I decided to make us both feel lighter by filling him in on all the dish that had transpired since he left us. You would be so happy Dad. Your grandson is working in the city now and looks the part each and every morning as he hops on the commuter train. And your granddaughter FINALLY moved back after almost 4 years of living on the other side of the world. Just like you always hoped she would. Mom is doing well and is busy with her wonderful friends in Florida. She is slowly finding her way without you. You would be so proud of her.

    And I still think of you ALL THE TIME. The special bond we shared still sustains me and brings a chuckle to my heart as well as the occasional tears. I still spend lots of time taking pictures and more than ever I wish I had had one more photo of you and me. There are never enough….

    It is just very early Spring, but I have brought you your favorite flower. A single yellow pansy. I know it would have made you smile.

    I added a smooth polished stone found on a path near the mound. I will be back to visit soon, Dad.

    I didn’t realize how very difficult it would be to say goodbye again, and to leave him there in that place. The sky above brightened and the road winded in front of me out of there.
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