Gratitude...

…I owe one of my Uncles a great debt of gratitude…. He gave me a gift once… one that no one else could have… what was the gift?… well, because of him, we dug my Father’s grave…

…while my Father was battling cancer…. the Men of the family all decided that when my Dad finally passed… we would honor him by digging his grave by hand.. we had everything prearranged… the day after he died, we would all meet at the cemetery, and put in a full days work…. It would beat sitting around the house… it would give us something to do… and, in one way, it would be fitting for us to labor so hard for my Father.. he was always an incredibly hard worker… and was more well respected than any of us ever realized… but, when the day finally arrived, we had a meeting with the Undertaker, he convinced my Mother and I that it was not a good idea for us to dig the grave by hand…

…well… after we left the Undertaker’s office, we decided to drive by the cemetery to see the plot… it was a beautiful, sunny day… and, as we turned onto the little path towards his gravesite, there was my Uncle… digging… all alone… as we approached, he looked up and said… “I sure hope this is the right place…”… I couldn’t tell him that we’d changed our mind about digging… he had the whole grave about 6 inches deep… so, I just nodded to my Mother… told her to start making calls when she got back home… then, I took Uncle Ronnie’s shovel from his hands with tears in my eyes, and began digging…. Within half an hour, there were thirty Uncles, Cousins, and Friends helping dig… some manning shovels and wheelbarrows… some brought sandwiches… some brought drinks… some just came to be part of it…

…so, that was the gift that Uncle Ronnie gave to me… if he had not been there… by himself… digging alone… we would not have dug my Father’s grave by hand… we would have missed that wonderful day of brotherhood… that day of shared grief… that chance of giving tribute in work to my Father’s memory… and, until my dying day, I will be grateful to him for giving me that gift..

…I just received a call from my Mother… it seems that my Cousin has been in a bad motorcycle accident, and is currently up at the UT Medical Center on a respirator… so, we will be heading up there in the morning to relieve my Aunt and Uncle Ronnie for a few hours… but, as I sit here right now… after just hanging up the phone… I remember how grateful I am to my Uncle…. my Father’s Brother-in-law…. for the gift he gave me… we all have some debts that will never be paid in full…

by Eric on April 17, 2004 | Comments(5) | SWG Stories
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Comments so far:

Very poignant and touching. I pray your cousin will be alright.

posted by: Donna on April 17, 2004 10:20 PM

My prayers are with you.

posted by: Sam on April 18, 2004 01:00 AM

this is the kinda ritin i cum here fer. ye gut the touch, sir.

posted by: buddy don on April 18, 2004 06:04 AM

..thanks very much... we're all heading up there in just a few minutes... not something that I am looking forward to, I must confess..

posted by: Eric on April 18, 2004 09:10 AM

I am truly touched, Eric. I can't think of a more beautiful gift, not only to yourself, but to your father, as well. :)

I'll be thinking positive thoughts & praying that your cousin will be fine!

posted by: Asherah on April 18, 2004 11:11 AM