Sometimes I feel like the universe doesn't hear my call. My wishes. My deep, dark wants, which feels like I am left without. But then sometimes the universe does hear---and it doesn't just hear, it replies. That's when I know I am fulfilled.
Such was true over the holiday weekend.
Memorial Day is a big deal for cemeteries in America. And because I'm employed by a large funeral home, which operates and is situated on the same grounds as a large cemetery, it means a big deal at work for me and my colleagues. It's a fun time. Truly.
It's a chance to get off the phone and out of the office, away from paperwork. Away from the intensity of grieving families who literally JUST lost a loved one, and instead out in the fresh air with (hopefully) sunshine; mingling among those who bring quiet, experienced reverence to their loves ones' final resting place.
Staff are divided into sections of the cemetery, and sent out on golf carts for ease of patrolling. We are armed with maps and a locator app, to guide visitors -- they number in the many thousands -- to an exact grave.
We take down service requests. We answer questions. We offer an ear.
I reflect, too.
On Sunday I thought about my dad a lot. He's been gone nine years this month.
On Monday the universe delivered to me three men, all about his age, each one alone. Because a companion or tag-along just wouldn't have fit the need.
Man One wore cargo shorts and a collared shirt, plus a newsboy cap. Just like my dad. He had a bit of a tummy pooch, too, just like my dad. He struggled to climb into the golf cart so I could give him a ride around the garden, the way my dad would have, all long and tricky limbs. He offered a calm, comfortable presence. My dad would have done that, too. And after we found the grave he was visiting, when we were parting ways, he placed his hand on my shoulder as a goodbye. It was such a dad thing to do.
Man Two smelled of a rich, masculine aftershave or cologne, like something my dad wore. I was so happy to breathe it in, little did he know.
Man Three gestured with his hands as he spoke. I was so happy to watch him from the corner of my eye, little did he know how much warmth those movements gifted me.
Just when I think the universe---God, really, that encompassing power and knowledge all around us---has gone quiet, it speaks.
It listens the whole time, and just waits for the right moment.
Sometimes, weirdly, the right moment happens in a cemetery.