This past Easter weekend I went home and, with my family, spread my Father’s ashes.  In an unceremonious and seemingly uncorrelated event, I decided I wanted to gather several transplants from the home I grew up at to bring back to our new home in Pennsylvania.  What transpired from this was a sort of “act of remembering”.  I was reminded of pieces of life that will never change, pieces that cannot stay the same and pieces that we carry on in new and different ways.  

A poem I wrote for the service:  

The Places We Find Those That Carry On

Dad I found you in the pages 

Of the Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening

Behind tomato cages of concrete reinforcement wire

And black and white illustrations

Of garden plans.

You were many things.

You taught me people are many things.

Today I choose to remember you this way:

Giver of life

In the planted and plotted,

Buds and suckers

And a life pruned over a lifetime 

Hoping – working for a better yield.

Dad, I found you in the sleeves 

of 78s and 45s.

Sometimes in-between the Rolling Stones and The Carpenters,

Between Jimmy Dorsey and The Supremes, 

Simon and Garfunkle and Chicago

Or Johnny Mathis and Johnny Cash.

God, I hate Johnny Mathis.

Yet, he takes his place among the rest,

Proof that I love you.

Because my Father’s record collection

Is not my Father’s record collection

Without an occasional verse or voice

Or note I’d rather not hear.

Today I choose to remember you this way:

A masterpiece symphony

In a cacophony and unresolving chords.

Listen to the words:

An offering of meaning 

For the things we, ourselves cannot articulate.