I often write about my grief as a mother who lost her daughter, but today I am writing about a father’s grief. While Russ and I grieve together, we also grieve in our own ways. This is a long journey, friends.
He couldn’t sleep.
A list, far too long for any one man to accomplish, scrolled through his mind. One task weighed not only on his mind, but on his heart.
Our summer was busy, with a family reunion, followed by a family vacation, followed by preparing for the upcoming semester. Then school began, not only for the kids, but for my professor husband.
An appointment had taken us north up the highway, past the site of our accident where the weeds and grass had grown so tall around the cross bearing Kalkidan’s name that it couldn’t be seen.
We felt terrible.
We put that cross there to remember our girl, and so people driving by would remember her too. But life is busy, and we had been gone, and grass grows quickly.
Our hearts were heavy.
That night, in the dark, he quietly left our bed and put on work clothes.
He took the essentials with him, the weed whacker and a mug of coffee, and drove north until he reached the cruel curve that took our daughter’s life.
The sun wasn’t up yet, but his headlamp gave him enough light to get started.
More than an hour later, the grass along that curve in the road was shorn short and Kalkidan’s cross could be seen clearly from either direction.
A sad task for this daddy to do for his daughter, but one of the only ones remaining.
He kept this precious time to himself until yesterday when we drove that highway again.
I sighed, “We really need to get up to Kalkidan’s cross and clear the grass and weeds away. I feel terrible about it.”
He quietly answered, “I already did.”
I envisioned a few feet of grass cut away, revealing the cross, but as we came to the curve in the road, I saw the labor of his love for our girl. The length of the entire curve, many yards long and many yards deep, was cut revealing Kalkidan’s cross with the orange bandana tied around it.
He loved her so well then – and now.
I could see him in my mind, working along the side of the highway as the sun began to rise; making that place more beautiful for her.
And so we move through our sorrow and grief.
Thank you, friends, for walking with us.