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.
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.
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.