First, the answer to your question is, “Yes, it is weird to see your name written on a headstone.”
I was six years old the last time I was there. I’ve never had a desire to go, but this summer something in me changed.
I made a commitment to learn about my family history. Going to Fort Snelling (link) where my dad is buried was a logical first step.
As it turns out, I am the same age now as my dad was when he died.
My dad is buried at a national cemetery, but he didn’t die in active duty. He died drinking and driving.
I’m reminded of this tension every Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day.
While my dad didn’t die in the military, without a doubt he lost something during his military service that made it impossible for him to feel whole. I suspect there are far more walking wounded veterans than just my dad.
I remember the day we got the call that my dad might be dead and how my mom and aunt went to find out.
I remember the funeral at Fort Snelling on slushy winter day and the drive to the burial plot that seemed to last forever.
I remember not long after the funeral when the questions for us kids reached a fever pitch, my mom decided, “we going to start going to church.”
As if church was the answer to our questions.
The church, as it turned out, was caring people who welcomed us and loved us. If you ask me, that is a pretty good answer to most questions.
In closing, going to my dad’s grave helped me realize I still have questions and that there aren’t any answers to be found at the cemetery.
I guess that is why I keeping showing up at church.