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Birds on the gravestone

Looking at birds on a gravestone, columnist J.D. Francis ponders if his late wife will bless him remarrying.

Until death do us part, were the words that began our story in the spring of our young lives. We were too young to understand it then, that parting would someday be the last thing we’d ever do together.

I remember brushing away the hair from your sad, distant, eyes knowing I was selfish to pray you’d stay any longer. I hugged your weak, fragile body and kissed your cheek — that you would know it was alright to let go and go on ahead without me. I whispered a promise that I would catch up and find you again somewhere into the pathways of forever and we’d start all over again through the eyes of eternity. You left me alone in the dark with my one breath, the one breath beyond your last. You took my heart and my word we would one day be together again.

It’s been five long years that I’ve been coming to this field of stone sharing my one-sided conversations. My visit today is different and just one more of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I have something I need to tell you but I’m confused and afraid. It’s something I can’t hold inside any longer. For the last year, I’ve been dating someone, and I have fallen in love with her. All the while I’m with her, I keep thinking of you and the time when tomorrow was ours to behold. I’ve faced it now, our tomorrows will never again get beyond yesterday and yesterday will always remain just out of reach.

I never set out to find someone. I wasn’t looking, it just happened. We met at the laundromat at 3 in the morning when I accidently knocked her clean clothes basket off of the counter. I found out how you get to know someone while helping fold her clothes that were spread all over the floor.

As it was with us back in our young innocent days we began dating. I’ve been feeling guilty and confused ever since. I’ve been lonely and empty every since you left me five years ago. So many long, lonely nights I would ask God why and pray that He would be forgiving.

It’s hard for me to explain, but she makes me feel whole again. She makes me laugh, she makes me feel, and most of all, she makes me want to live again. She’s brought back into my life the words and music to a love song, a ballad at one time we used to call our own.

As my fingertips trace through the groove of your name in stone, I’m here to ask for your permission. I want to ask her to marry me, but I can’t. I need to know that I have your blessing. I need to know that you understand that I can no longer keep my promise to you. Somehow in some way, I need to know that you still love me and that you know I still love you. You’re there, and I’m here. You see all that is through Heaven’s eyes, while my eyes are earthly blind. I have no way to measure that if I remarry, if I promise my love to someone else, will we ever see each other again?

I won’t, I can’t, remarry without your blessing. I’ve heard it said that God sends His messengers from Heaven, so I’ll come here every day in search of a sign. It doesn’t have to be shooting stars nor northern lights, just a simple expression of approval. It may be a butterfly on the wing, a fallen leaf resting on your stone, a white dove in the tree above my head, a single firefly in the dark or a pair of red cardinals sent to grant your permission. I’ll come here every day to mingle with my memories and patiently wait for a sign. Always know that you are a part of me, and I’ll love you forever.

J.D. Francis is a businessman and developer who also writes a monthly feature series called “Cattin’ Main.” He can be reached at jdfranpaint@msn.com.