On the morning of the one-year anniversary of my father-in-law’s death, my son and I go to Mass. We are both tired and hurry to make it. I look for a word or a message or a meaning in the service, but I find none today.

After Mass I offer to take Charlie to a local diner, but he doesn’t want to go there. Instead, we end up at a bagel place, and he gets the bagel he wants, and I don’t get the hot breakfast I want. But it is fine, really; it’s a difficult day for us.

He is driving, and we set off for home. On the way his iPod shuffles through the 70-plus songs he has. We listen to “Paralyzer,” “Good Feeling” and “Glad You Came.”

As we get into our neighborhood I prepare to ask him some questions: “Are you going to study for your tests? Do you have a paper due? Can you please, please pick your clothes up off the floor?”

But as we pull into the driveway the songs shuffle again, and “On Eagle’s Wings” starts playing. Charlie puts the car in park and looks over at me. “This song played at Papa’s funeral.”

He puts his head on my shoulder, and I rest my cheek on the top of his head, bringing my hand up to the side of his face.

My questions for him remain unasked as we sit there together and listen. And remember.

Cheryl Somers Aubin,


NEW QUERY:Tell us about a time when you crossed something off your “bucket list.”The Washington Post is partnering with the Public Insight Network (PIN) to hear more of your 100 percent true stories taken from your own experience. Submit your answer to the query above online here.By sharing your story, you become part of PIN — a network of more than 130,000 people who contribute to high-quality journalism. Editors will choose an entry to run in the Magazine, but we will also share more of your stories online. You can also submit to The Washington Post Magazine, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Include your daytime phone number. Recount your story in 250 words or fewer.

For stories, features such as Date Lab, Gene Weingarten and more, visit WP Magazine.

Follow the Magazine on Twitter.

Like us on Facebook.

E-mail us at wpmagazine@washpost.com.