A Long Journey

I’ve put over 4,000 miles our vehicle over the past couple weeks. Traveling twice to Arkansas to deliver and pick up my son for a visit with my parents and a quick trip to Nebraska to take care of some family business.

One of the places to stop by while in Nebraska was Edgar, Nebraska. Edgar is where my father graduated from high school in 1952 and where he grew up. It is also where he is buried. The timing of the trip and his death in September of 1970, brought back memories, some good, some very painful. I checked on the gravesites of my dad, his parents and grandparents: spent a bit of time there at the cemetery and then left to visit some family members who live in the area. During the conversation with them, one of my relatives mentioned how it was good I could “get back to visit my dad” once in a while.

On the drive back to the motel, that statement stayed fresh in my mind. I thought about what my relative had said. The place my dad is buried is a place for those who must hold on to something tangible. For me, a plot in a cemetery isn’t so much a resting place as it is a symbol of a new beginning. I don’t need to visit a gravesite to be near him. I hear dad’s whisper in the breeze blowing in my face. I feel his touch in the warmth in the sun on my skin. He lives in the passion I have for living, the push in my step, and the joy of life I see in my son’s face. Despite the fact that it was 35 years ago this month he died at the age of 38, I think of him often. The pain of his loss has not diminished. It just becomes easier to manage. Fifteen year-olds should not have to lose a parent that way. I can tell you the time, what I heard and what I smelled and what I tasted as my brother, sister and I watched our mom struggle to tell us what happened as we stood in the back yard of our home. We had the benefit of the security of a home and support of our family to get through the initial shock and grieving process.

Today, I watched news reports about the tens of thousands of displaced people moving across the United States, in search of a place to live after having survived a hurricane called Katrina. I wonder many kids are wondering where their parents are tonight.

Consider helping out. Donate your time, talents or resources to make sure we provide for those who have lost everything. Tangible things are ok but what really counts is knowing there is someone out there who cares.

Oh, and if you have kids, give ’em an extra hug and tell them you love them.

About Gary Smith

Chief Smith has served over 31 years in the criminal justice field. He is currently a consultant assisting public and private organizations better establish community goals and ethical conduct with the members of their organizations. Chief Smith serves as a facilitator, lecturer, professor and other capacities both inside and outside the criminal justice field.
This entry was posted in U S Politics. Bookmark the permalink.