On May 17, I headed back to California to help my brothers go through some of Dad’s stuff and to take care of the business end of things.
My husband had rented (on-line) a compact car for me to pick up at the Sacramento airport. When I got up to the counter the little man on the other side said, “OH, you TOO TALL for a compact car… you too tall. You not fit in a compact car. Why you rent a compact? You too tall.”
I said that it was only for a couple of days and that I’d be fine. He kept shaking his head and saying, “Oh no, you too tall. That not be fun. You need bigger car.” I tried to convince him that I’d be just fine and I fold easily, but he insisted that I was “too tall for compact” as he busily worked the keyboard of his computer!
Finally, he looked up with a gleam in his eyes and said he had a black Mustang for only eight more dollars a day.
“You like Mustang?”, he asked.
Hey, I’m easy-going. For eight more bucks a day? Sounds good to me! I LOVE to drive, and driving a fast, powerful car is even better. 🙂
“Sure!”, I said.
So, after I PUT ON (as I say about getting into it) the black Mustang… I sped away a happy camper. He was right… me like black Mustang!
After a quick-lunch date with my youngest brother in Elk Grove, I
raced headed down to Lodi for a nail appointment. An hour later, it was clear to me that I had to get on the road and see what this pony could really do. 🙂 After a quick call to my Mom, I headed to the Napa Valley to take her to dinner. It was about a two-hour drive, give or take, depending on traffic. I never got the chance to “let loose” with the car much – due to having to share the road 😦 – but I did enjoy its “get-up-and-go” abilities.
Mom and I had a wonderful time together and a good veggie burger & sweet potato fries at Gotts, in Napa. I also had the opportunity to show her how quick my little pony could get-up-and-go! I think she preferred a slow trot to the all out gallop though. 🙂
Back in Lodi, I was up early (still on east coast time) the next morning. After having some coffee, I was ready to take a drive. I had about an hour and a half before I was to meet with my brothers and step mom.
Bored of driving the same country roads around Lodi, I decided I would drive down to French Camp and go see Dad’s grave. It was a spur of the moment idea, and I didn’t really even think about being able to handle it yet.
After an enjoyable thirty minute drive I arrived at the cemetery. I drove around the back to where we had just laid Dad to rest not four weeks earlier, took the Mustang off, and walked to his grave. The dirt was fresh. And so were the emotions.
I could not control the tears. I could not stay standing. I could not see. I could not understand why my Daddy was under this dirt. I could not understand why God allowed him to leave me.
After a bit, a hand rested on my shoulder and squeezed. A soft sweet voice said, “Let it out. Just let it out.”
I couldn’t even look up. I just hugged the ground and let this person talk softly in my ear. She hugged me, told me how it would one day get better, and then as the tears eased up, she asked me about the person of whom I mourned.
I told her. I told her all about my Daddy. I told her how special he was. What a great man he was, and how he died. I told her how much I missed him. How I still pick up the phone to tell him something, and how my heart hurts so much that I don’t know if I can take it anymore.
She listened, hugged and comforted me. She shared her own pains, and how she has been able to cope… and even move on. She cared. She really cared.
Finally, she told me to stay as long as I needed and to just let it out. She said she was going to leave me to be alone with Daddy, and that she would be praying for me.
I wept some more.
When I finally pulled myself together, and got my legs underneath me, I headed to my little black pony. As I slowly drove away, I saw her caring for her loved ones headstone just a ways down from where Dad was. She lifted her hands to wave, then with both of her hands made a heart… the prayer sign, and then pointed to me.
And again, I wept.
Such love from a stranger. Such tender love.
Thank you Jesus for sending her to me.
Thank you my cemetery angel.
I wish I had gotten her name. I wish I could thank her.
My cemetery angel.