On Memorial Day weekend, I make a trek back to my father's grave. Kneeling beside it, I inevitably think back to the first time I came and found a small piece of masking tape attached to a stick with three words: "He left friends." At the time, there was comfort in a message left by a stranger.

But over the years, as more people have found his grave, there seems to be no end to what they leave.  I've had to take a bag to collect the items as they have begun to block my father’s name and mar the stone. To date, some of the things left are as follows: a blue lighter; coins; a Canadian dollar bill; a heart shaped glass stone; a silver lighter; marbles; a piece of driftwood; two movie ticket stubs; a pack of Pal Mal cigarettes; a baseball; a pencil; an angel statue; matches; a business card from Kelly somebody - a tattoo artist. She wrote on the back: "We still love ya. RIP"

And so this weekend, I went prepared with my bag. There were the normal items, the memorial stones and coins, the tickets, a key, a bottle of wine, a brass pipe, a bracelet but there was something else this time. A letter tucked into a yellow envelope.

And as I walked away, I thought back to that piece of masking tape and those words. They didn’t survive a winter; the words faded and the tape was eventually gone but they still offer comfort because my father has indeed left friends.

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