I had never met him, but I saw him every Friday afternoon.
He was always alone.
I imagined it was too hard for anyone to see him.
He was only nine years old.
Pablo. His name was Pablo.
I didn’t know how he had died, whether it was an accident or illness. I just knew that it must’ve been painful for his family. I hadn’t seen anyone in over three years. And the only time I had seen flowers at his side was in June, on his birthday. Other than that he seemed alone.
He was buried next to my Dad.
Being a mom I imagined it was the most painful thing in life, to bury her son. Soul crushing. Probably really difficult to come see him, which was why his grave marker was caked in dirt and deer hoof prints. The sun beating down on it didn’t seem to do it any favors either. Looked like he had been there ten years without a cleaning.
And I felt bad.
I imagine he was a free-spirited kid, just like the portrait on his marker, running away from the waves smiling. Looked like that would have been his favorite thing to do, considering they captured it in bronze.
But it wasn’t supposed to look old, weathered, and uncared for … just didn’t seem right.
I grabbed my soapy water and brush and began the process. I worked the corners, letters, and portrait, making sure the layers of dirt washed away. After rinsing and drying it, I rubbed mineral oil on it and sat down. The sun warmed my back and shone on his marker. I felt better about helping him out, even if he would never know, even his family would never know. My heart felt less heavy now.
The situation was still heartbreaking, but I felt like I did the only thing I could do. Tough thing losing a kid, beyond words really. But you can still spread a little kindness in hopes that the tiny ripples make a difference.
I said a little prayer and wished Pablo well.
Then, I sat next to my Dad and had a conversation about life.