Ever since Memorial weekend I have been meaning to get out the cemetery to place down flowers upon the gravestones of my beloved great-grandparents. I grew up living only eight miles from them and every Sunday (especially in the summer) we were there visiting. I bought the flowers and I had great intentions to get out there, and then I signed papers for my house and then the moving began, then the unpacking and placing things in just the right order. Needless to say I did not make it out there, well finally today I had the opportunity to drive out to where many of my family members are buried. I began walking to their plots and memories flooded my head, I remember being a little girl and going with my great-grandmother to put flowers on graves. I, as a young child did not know or even understand the importance of this act of respect. Respect is just what it is, these are not just concrete or granite headstones, these represent the loved ones in someone’s life; whether they were young or old. I always liked walking around the grounds and reading the dates, this has not changed, I still look at dates of all those around the cemetery.
I went right to the headstones of my great-grandparents Thelma (Granny) and her husbands’ Andrew and Oscar. I never knew Andrew; he was known as Slim. He died at a young age of 42 years old. I always wished I had known him, because my Granny loved him so much. Later she married Oscar and he is the one I grew up knowing and loving. He told the silliest stories about life in the early 20th century, but there was a time when his eyes would get glassy eyed and tears would begin to form while telling a story and with that you would know it was a true and sad story.
I was only 14 years old when Oscar passed away, and it was a sad day in my world, he was almost 91 years old. Born in 1899, I always thought that was awesome that I knew someone that was born the 19th Century. He was part Indian and an oil man, and he let my sister and I do pretty much what we wanted, but we also were not allowed to misbehave either.
I placed my flowers in front of the headstone, and sat down on the ground and had a chat with them both. It had been a while since I had been there, too long I am ashamed to admit. Why do we, in this generation find it hard to take time out of our busy lives to lay down flowers and pay respects. I told them about my new job, and that I bought my childhood home back. I told them about the kids and how they are doing and I how much I miss them. I know that one day I will see them again in heaven, but I still miss their presents here on earth.
Once I spent a little time graveside, I walked around the grounds, like I always do. Although, I have seen these gravestones before and read the dates, something just seemed different this time. I focused more on the death dates and how old the stones looked. This always seems to blow my mind.
There are some of these gravesites that are so old that the dates are not even visible any longer. My mind wonders who lies there, is it a mother, father, or a child. What was their life like, how old were they when they exited the earth? There are so many possibilities. As a writer my mind can come up with many scenarios, whether they are true or not.
The day I went the grass was still wet from the much needed, but wrong timing rain. Everything looked so fresh from the rain, and because it was a day after Independence Day there were many fresh looking flowers on many of the stones. This made me think, why do we only think about our loved ones during Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and so forth. It seems as if that is the only time the living remembers the dead. What made me even more sadden is to see the gravesites that were forgotten, family that does not even care enough to lay flowers down. Unkempt sites, flowerless sites, what happened? Are there not any living relatives, living friends, anyone that cares? This makes me want to go and get some flowers and lay them down. I understand that once the body leaves the earth their soul goes to either heaven or hell, and that their physical bodies are no longer here but they still deserve to be thought about too.
As I was making my way back to the truck, I spotted a gravesite that made my head turn and brought a smile to my face, and I just had to include it into my blog. Please comment if you can make the connection.
Thanks again for coming along on my journey once again. Always remember, Ecclesiastes 3:1-22, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;...”