Sometimes you just never know when you will run into a life-changing moment.
One for me came earlier this month as I was heading west on U.S. 62 and a car parked in Elizabethtown Memorial Gardens caught my eye. It was the only car I could see over the vastness of the cemetery on this day.
The grass at the cemetery I imagine was soggy from nearly 4 inches of rain the day before. But there sat a man, I would guess somewhere between 65 and 80 years of age, in a chair by a grave.
It was a stunning picture.
As I continued to drive, I wondered who he was there to visit. A late spouse? Child? Grandchild? Close friend? Was it a birthday or anniversary?
My mind was occupied with this life snapshot for days. And still is.
This man was there, in my mind anyway, to stay close to someone he cared deeply about and likely for many, many years. He might have been a lonesome person there to make sure the gravesite had everything in place and to talk.
I often compare my life to others and consider what I hope I would do if I were in the same place as others.
My dad rarely visits the grave of my mother. It’s not a reflection of lost love or not caring. He says it is emotionally too hard on him, even after nearly 30 years, to go there very often.
I always go to my mother’s grave when I am home. I often think of how good she was as a mother and I smile. It saddens me, and it will until the day I die, that she was unable to experience being a grandparent because I know that would have been such a proud and exciting part of her life.
I can’t imagine life without my wife, our children or our granddaughter. If something tragic happened, I know where I would spend much of my time. I would be like this man in the chair.
I have driven by the cemetery a handful of times since I saw the man sitting there. I have not seen him there again, but I suspect he has been there many times.
We get so caught up in our daily lives of bills, grades and work that we push too many really important things to the back burner.
Like sitting in a chair with a loved one.
Jeff D’Alessio is News Editor of The News-Enterprise.