I Went to My Son's Grave Today

I went to my son's grave today.

We were driving by, and there was time.

The number of times I have been there is less than the number of fingers on both my hands.

I dread going knowing that he won't be there, waiting to run into my arms,

and wrap me with a great big Joey hug,

and give me a great big Joey smile.

I dread knowing I won't hear that wonderful Joey giggle.

Instead I approach the plain stone.

Plain because I had no energy for designs and words and images.

I stare at his name, his given name, Joseph, and in quotation marks, "Joey," his little boy name.

Because that's what he was - a little boy.

And I can barely look at the dates of his short life.

I kneel, and I look at the outline of where the earth was dug, and I see that the grass is still sparse after almost two years.

I think, even grass can't grow on this lonely hill.

I feel bad that I haven't brought flowers, that I hardly ever bring flowers.

But I hardly ever plan to come.

I try to talk to him, but I know I'm just talking to the ground.

I try to picture his face, his sparkling eyes and radiant smile.

But all I can see is a face bloated by steroids, eyes that are weary from sickness, and lips that no longer curl into a smile.

I picture a rotting body and that's when I have to turn away.  Turn away before the tears come.  The tears that acknowledge that my little boy is gone, and I'm walking away without him.

Just like the first time I left that place.
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