My husband and my father are caretakers. They take care of everyone else way before they take care of themselves. Andrew knew I always wanted him to be more organized; however, that was not one of his strengths. Maybe he knew, in the back of his mind, Grandpa and Grandma were always available to help him out. Sometimes bi-weekly or weekly, my parents would get the phone call, "I'm late--can I have a ride?" or "I forgot my book--would you go get it?" This was their secret, because they knew I would get on Andrew for not being organized. They protected him. I'm sad I couldn't let that go. But for those three, it was their thing together. It was a way for them to take care of Andrew, no matter how old he was.
Even after the end of Andrew's life, Grandpa was still his caretaker. He made the beautiful oak box that would hold Andrew's ashes. He helped Bill set Andrew's stone into concrete. He checks on him quite often.
We wanted to dedicate Andrew's stone before everyone got busy with harvest and other summer activities. Usually a grave marker takes four weeks to be delivered, but I received a call two weeks after we had ordered his stone--it was ready. So we called people and let them know we would have a dedication on Monday, July 5.
Dad and Bill talked about how to set the stone into concrete. Bill had the idea he would build a frame at home and then take the entire piece to the cemetary. My father had a different idea. We received a phone call on Friday, July 2 telling us everything was ready to start pouring the concrete. Dad went up early that morning, marked the area, removed all the sod and dirt, and built the form, thus preparing the area for the placing of Andrew's stone into concrete. So we guess that they would do all of it on site.
So, on the hill overlooking the valley, Andrew's two caretakers went to work one last time for him. They placed the stone and began filling the form with concrete. My sister-in-law gave us a double-shepherds hook to place between Andrew's stone and my in-laws stone. This made the two stones become almost one.
While these two worked, I was the runner. I brought doughnuts and coffee. I went and got an extra bag of concrete. Again, this was so surreal. Here we were working on a project for Andrew. We took breaks and enjoyed the lovely weather. The only thing strange was where we working on this project.
Bill and I had all the extra things that we wanted to add to the concrete, but Dad thought the concrete might be too wet to put the things in. He told us to go eat lunch and come back to place the numbers and letters. When we returned, it would be just right. The thing none of us took into account was how breezy it was on the hill. When we returned, the concrete was too set to add the numbers and the letters. However, Bill was able to countersink his pins into the concrete. Then Bill used concrete epoxy to attach the letters and the numbers. When we told Dad, his reply was, "Opps. Guess I gave you bad advice." Oh well, it all worked out well.
The final product turned out just as we imagined. It is a wonderful place to visit, a place of peace for my sweet boy.