A visit at the cemetery
Grieving and Remembering
Grieving loved ones
It is with a heavy heart I write this and I feel it is a painful reality we all will face and must live with and it is inevitable as is the birth of a child and the start of a new day. We all must face death in our lives and for most of us it will be a very emotional and very sorrowful experience that will affect us and influence how we live our lives. I have memories of losing family relatives through the years and I was saddened and remember crying and being comforted by my parents. It was my parents who needed comforting also as they were grieving too.
It seems we will go through stages as we grieve the loss of a loved one and the degree to which we grieve and the time it takes to grieve depends on the relationship we had with the ones we lost. The closer our relationship with the deceased the more difficult a time we will have in dealing with our loss. In the days and weeks following our loss we will have times where we feel very sad and overwhelmed and it is very important that we talk to someone and try to find a way to express what we are feeling and try to remember the wonderful memories we had.
After we mourn our loved ones and laid them to rest we will have times of great sorrow and sadness and we will miss them in our lives. At these times we will wish to pay our respects and visit at their grave at the cemetery. This is a very emotional time initially as we are trying to get on with our lives and still remember them. We usually try to spend a part of an afternoon to pray for them and leave flowers and just reflect on our lives together and look for strength and courage to go on in their absence.
I know when I lost my mom who died relatively young at the age of 50 it was a very sad and difficult time for me as well as for my sisters and it was an extremely painful and difficult time for my dad who was very devoted to her. He spent countless times visiting her when she was sick at the hospital and he would never lose hope as he had a strong faith and was a very caring and compassionate person despite his tough exterior. When he lost his wife it was a very sad time for him and for our family as we all tried to be strong for each other and especially for our dad who was always there for us. Our dad was very strong and courageous and despite the pain and sadness he felt in his heart he managed to go on and work and spend time with all his grandchildren through the years. When he retired from his career as an ironworker he spent his days visiting my family and my sisters families. He was a very devoted father and grandfather.
As the years passed and dad was getting on in his age he would at times feel the pains of aging but somehow managed to continue and be a part of all our children's lives. He was a wonderful grandfather to all his grandchildren. He spent many Sundays visiting with us and devoted his time to our son who he did not treat any different despite his diagnosis of autism. We knew there was a special relationship developing with Matty and his grandfather and it is so very sad that the attachments and bonds formed are only for a brief time as we have to live with the reality of loss once again. When we lost our dad it was quite unexpected and with no warning.
You could say we lost our dad to a broken heart and that would be very true for when he lost his wife he was never really the same. He managed to live for 2 decades since her death but was lonely and still very devoted to her memory. He was wonderful for those 20 additional years we had him in our lives but it was apparent he missed her though he forged on with courage and strength in his life. When it was too much to bear for him he decided it was time and we were all so devastated by the news of his tragic death that to this day I am still at times wondering what we could have done differently to help him. Unfortunately we will never know.
I know my dad would not want us to feel this way but it is human nature to try to understand and to be affected by it. My dad and my mom were very special and I loved them both so much as they were always there in our lives helping us to believe in ourselves and making us feel loved. As I face my life with a wonderful family of my own and I try my best to be a loving husband and devoted father I try to draw strength from my parents and my personal experiences. Sometimes I will pay my respects and speak my thoughts and feelings for God to hear as I visit my parents final resting place at the cemetery. Sometimes it is very difficult going there and other times it is a peaceful retreat. During the holidays I will visit and pray for my parents and let them know how much they are loved and missed. I will leave flowers or a Christmas blanket for their grave.
As I visit at the cemetery I feel a connection and a place to go to remember my parents. After I visit their grave I sometimes will walk through the cemetery reading the headstones of others who I do not know but feel touched in ways just wondering about their lives and the ones they left behind. It can be a very emotional experience as I have read the graves of young children as I try to imagine what their lives could have been and why they died so young. It is such a tragedy as I feel for them and for their parents. I also read the graves of teenagers, young men and women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who lost their lives and just can't help but wonder. The hardest place to visit is where the infants who perished are buried. I pray for my nephew who I never got to meet as he died at birth. I have cried as I visited there seeing the little toys left behind for the babies who never had a chance to live as their parents grieve for them and must try to live and have strength and courage to go on. I was deeply touched by a baby's headstone inscribed with a parents loving words "Our precious little angel, we held you for a moment, you touched us forever." It really made me understand the precious gift of life and how we should be grateful for every waking day we have with our family. I always feel emotion and find I become more reflective after a visit at the cemetery.
As we remember our loved ones who have passed on we try to hold on to the memories of them in our heart and live our lives to do all we are meant to do in their honor and to spend our lives with our children giving them joy, happiness, love and an opportunity to form their own memories.
Written in loving tribute to my mom and dad who are just as much a part of my life today as they were throughout my childhood and adult life as I raise my son with my wife to provide him with love, hope and fatherly advice and wisdom as I had been given.
Edward D. Iannielli III
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