"Within the first year after the passing of a loved one, mourners and their family gather at the grave site for a ceremony called the unveiling, the placing of the tombstone. At this event, a grave marker is put into place and the monument is formally dedicated. There are a variety of specific customs that revolve around the grave site to honor the person who is now deceased. During this ceremony, it is not necessary for rabbis to be involved. It is a spiritual time for the family to comfort each other and remember their loved one" (www.shiva.com)
Tomorrow is my dad's unveiling. We are well over the one year mark (going on two plus) but hey, we are doing the best we can. It will be my brothers, my mom and me.
I had such a stormy past with my father and this last piece of putting him to rest feels good to me. It feels right to formally honor him one last time. As Miranda gets older, I will bring her to "visit" and tell her stories about my dad.
The problem is, I want to share words of wisdom. I want to pass on family traditions. My brothers both have insight and advice from him that they hold dear.
This is what I have:
College: You either need to find a man who likes chubby women or lose weight. It's that simple.
Post-College: Date lots of men at the same time. That way you are never alone and you always have options.
There are more, but I think you get the point.
My dad loved me very much. I was his first baby. I was his only daughter. I was, in many ways, a mirror image of him. The problem was, he did not know what to do with me.
He showered me with Swatches and Benetton and Outback Red. He got my ears pierced way before my mom was ready for that step (and very much behind her back). He talked to me like a "grown up" and in turn, scared the living crap out of me when I was just a kid.
He left our family to make a better life for himself. That resulted in a better life for us. So I can't argue with that.
He created custody issues that did not need to be and I can argue with that.
He was not the most honest or the most truthful and I can find fault with that, too.
But you know what? For the most part, he really lived his life. He seized the day out of every opportunity. He did not care what others thought of him - as long as they thought he was larger than life, rich, generous and fun. And in many ways, he was.
I am who I am because of who he was and who he was not. For the most part, I like the person that I have become. So thank you, Dad. Thank you for your flaws and your mistakes and your missed opportunities. Thank you also for loving me the best that you could. I can't argue with that.