Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

I know some people find cemeteries spooky, but I really love them. I think they are peaceful places and a little bit sad. I often find myself cutting through our local cemetery on my runs and loved to do the same up in WA where there were far more small cemeteries associated with little churches. I like to read the names and wonder about the people. I get sad of course when I see a grave of a child or one where a husband or wife died years ago while their spouse remained. But I like going there all the same, and I love love the Memorial Day weekend tradition of visiting the graves (and, of course, going for ice-cream directly after). Ever since returning from living out of state, I have made sure to call my mom and force her to take us each year. Does this tradition exist in other states? It seems like Memorial Day is really meant for remembering veterans, and I don’t recall seeing the cemeteries crowded and full of flowers on this particular day when we lived in WA, but here, the cemeteries are very crowded on this weekend. It’s a nice tradition and there is really a pleasant thoughtful atmosphere among all the flower bringers at the graves.IMG_6532IMG_6535IMG_6541_edited-1IMG_6553_edited-1IMG_6554_edited-1IMG_6556

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but this grave always makes me very emotional. It belongs to my mom’s great-great grandparents and eight of the nine children they buried. Can you imagine? I feel like if even one of my children were taken from me I would shatter and scatter into a billion ungatherable pieces. Look at the ages – 15, 9, 2, 5, 1, 1, and two newborns (I don’t know how old the child was who was buried before they came here). Oh it makes me cry to even type it.IMG_6562 (2)IMG_6565IMG_6566

Another thing also touched me quite a bit today. There was a man standing not far from us at a grave – very red eyed and quietly crying. It was clear that he was very upset, but I would have never dreamt of speaking to him – or of knowing anything to say. I would have been far too nervous to intrude on his grief. My dad however put his hand on his shoulder and called him brother and asked if he was all right. At that small act, the man burst into sobs. It was the grave of a very recently lost grandma, and from his sorrow you might have guessed she was the only person in the world who ever loved him. I didn’t hear everything that was said as my dad spoke to him, though I did find myself crying. I heard my dad assuring the man about where his grandma was and telling him that he would say a prayer for him. The man told my dad that what he said meant a lot to him and even stopped us later as we were crossing a road into another area of the cemetery to thank my dad.

Anyway, more pictures of telling stories, etc. at the graves and of eating ice-cream afterwards:IMG_6568IMG_6573IMG_6580IMG_6585IMG_6587IMG_6589IMG_6592IMG_6619_edited-1IMG_6624IMG_6639IMG_6643IMG_6652IMG_6653_edited-1IMG_6657IMG_6669IMG_6679_edited-1

6 comments:

Melissa, Ryan and Addy said...

Oh how I loved this post of yours. I do think that decorating graves on Memorial Day (or Decoration Day as my Granny Davis refers to it) is a Utah tradition. I wonder if that's because there are so many LDS people in Utah and death is thought of differently in our church, who knows? Either way this post made me very sentimental, because we did this all growing up, every Memorial Day going to the graves of so many relatives. However, we were never lucky enough to go get ice cream after. And is that Farr ice cream, because if so I am very jealous of that!

Perla said...

OH this made me homesick! But I'm glad I got to see this pictures because it all looks just how I remember it and exactly dad's face as he is looking down, etc. So, thanks for sharing it with me. :) Remember 2 years ago when Jesse puked right on one of the gravestones we had just been cleaning off? That was good times. And our Dad is so cool. Mom too, of course. And the Burnhopes (wasn't it?) with all the children who died. I shudder. Absolutely shudder. And now as a parent I see the store of Maryann (am I getting the names right) sneaking out the window at night and then dad cutting down the tree in the morning differently. I used to laugh and think about how she must have felt as a young girl and lucky the dad didn't come tan her hide. But now as a mom I cry to think of him chopping it down and wonder with every whack of the axe he was thinking about all of the children he had lost and could do nothing about because of the illnesses or whatever they got--each whack thinking about each child and thinking "by damned if i let this daughter die". and i feel proud of him and hope that maybe we could have been there to comfort him in some way and also to cheer him on and say, "damn straight! you chop that tree down!"

Perla said...

sorry about all the typos in the last comment and TWO damns. but when you think about losing nine babies. well, i can't think about it. i have to separate myself because i can't imagine losing any of my kids but i think of the 2 year old or the 1 year old twins and i just think that if anything happened to miles i would...i don't even know because i can't imagine being able to continue on in my life. how did they do it? wow. we come from some strong stock!

jami said...

i love this ... (ok. what don't you write that i don't love?) ... and i'm totally sniffling here, crying about your sweet dad and the tenderness he showed that man. ah ... thanks.

Leslie Lynn said...

Nancy, I cannot speak for everyone in Oregon/WA area, but for our family we visited the graves of our loved ones (many that you and I share) on our annual trips to Utah in the Summer. We had no family graves to visit nor do I think my parents thought to go to a cemetery where we knew no one. Though I think we could have developed a respect and appreciation for those we didn't know. I find your tradition wonderful and very meaningful. I have always loved your parents and enjoyed seeing their beautiful faces in the pictures. Thanks for sharing them.

Amy said...

See this is why I can't read your blog, or even allow myself to take a peak and your newest darling photos. That is all I was going to do. Give myself five minutes, if that, to scan through your pics, get a quick update. But now almost a half hour later I am still reading, and wanting to laugh and cry and just go, "ohhhhhh" to so many of the tender things you have written. why are you so talented in writing, and now in photoing, and then beautiful and kind, and well, please don't you and your family get yourselves translated. Just do a few bad things to keep you here. LOVE THIS POST!

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