Memorial Day weekend seems to be a time for celebration. Taking advantage of the long no-work weekend, people travel to other parts of the country to visit relatives; they have picnics, go boating, swimming, and enjoy a variety of activities. Some participate in parades and other ceremonies that mark this traditional holiday for honoring those who died in the US military.
Many people visit cemeteries to place flowers on the graves of their loved ones. My husband and I do this, but it is not enjoyable. In fact, it makes my heart ache!
It takes two days for us to get to all of the different cemeteries where our loved ones are interred. Just today, my son remarked that it would be nice if we had a family cemetery where everyone was buried instead of having to go to several different locations. But that’s not the way it is, so we continue making the rounds, just as our parents did before us, and theirs before them.
Braving near ninety-degree heat and intense sunshine, we walked the grounds of one cemetery for thirty minutes or more, looking for a marker that didn’t seem to be where we thought it was. But once we located it, we placed our flowers in the vase while sweet memories of this person I loved swirled around and around in my mind.
No matter how long my loved ones have been gone, when we’re finished with this dreary task, I always leave with tears brimming, and the rest of the day is “different” for me.
But today, a little levity was helpful.
On the way home, Mr. H. started a conversation about our yearly routine. “It’ll probably end with us,” he said. “The younger generation doesn’t take these things as seriously as we do.”
“You’re right,” I said. “You and I will probably never have a flower placed on our graves, but I guess it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
“Guess not,” he said. “Our bodies will be in those crypts we bought years ago, lying head-to-head and our souls will be elsewhere. Nothing on this earth will matter.”
“Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up. I’ve been thinking. I really don’t like that arrangement very well. What were we thinking when we agreed to those head-to-head crypts?”
“Probably that they were cheaper than the ones like your parents have, where they lie side-by-side; the ones like ours take up less space. Whoever passes first goes in feet-first and then the last one to pass will go in head-first.” Mr. H. said. “Lying head-to-head for eternity – that’s not so bad, is it?”
Pondering that for a few moments while enjoying the view of the shimmery sunlit river we were crossing, I finally replied, “Well, we’ve been going head-to-head for more than five decades; guess it’s only right that we do the same throughout eternity!”
We both laughed and the day was saved.
Have a great weekend!