Saturday, March 05, 2011

Notes from a cemetery

Note: I wrote this last May, after the unveiling* for my late father. For whatever reason, it sat in an online list of draft writing ever since.

I didn't count the number of attendees, but there were likely a couple of hundred in the cemetery in the countryside well north of the big city. It was a sunny Sunday morning, and just like at his funeral, the proceedings were interrupted by an Air Canada Airbus A-320 flying high overhead on a long, circuitous approach to Montreal's Trudeau International Airport.

I don't know if this has anything to do with anything, but at the time I thought it was an interesting coincidence. See, years ago, in 2002, I had flown to that same airport to be there for one of my father's surgeries. It was on that trip that I picked up my laptop after seeing airplanes on the tarmac. For reasons I still don't quite understand, the sight moved me. Almost on their own, words formed in my head. And as I waited for my plane to board, I began to write. That piece eventually became a newspaper column**, which then became many newspaper columns.

Unwittingly, my father and an airplane had reintroduced me to the pen I had set aside for too long. So perhaps it was meant to be that now, on this spring morning, as we said yet another belated goodbye, the aviation theme once again crossed our collective path. And I once again felt the need to use words to remember what it looked and felt like.

Life moves in strange cycles. As I stood there watching the plane recede into the distance, I found myself wishing I could tell my father about the story I was going to write. Instead, I stepped forward and shared my thoughts with those who attended. It would have to do.

* What's an unveiling? I wrote about it here.
** I re-posted that column, originally published in the London Free Press, here.


Elizabeth Grimes said...

I enjoyed reading how you came to write. It's amazing how the most unexpected circumstances move us to act. Thank you for sharing.

Tabor said...

There is the view that perhaps somewhere, somehow, your father hears this.

young-eclectic-encounters said...

Beautiful sentiments- beautifully put- so glad you took up the pen again

Deborah said...

Wonderfully written.

kcinnova said...

I'm glad you began writing and sharing your thoughts.
The more I learn about the Jewish customs, especially as they relate death and the grieving process, the more I wish they were universal.