Sunday, June 5, 2011
My husband and I made a cemetery trip to our parents' and grandparents' graves on Memorial Day. The sky was overcast and the wind was blowing. I found the visits peaceful. I also remembered several family stories with a chuckle. My parents' first date was a ride through the cemetery. One Memorial Day, my Dad drove by a park where my mother and her sister were playing tennis. He stopped to talk to the two lively pretty girls and wanted to prolong the encounter. Not having any other ideas, he asked them to go for a ride to look at the flowers in the cemetery. They accepted his offer and my parents' courtship began.
Ten years of so before my mother died, my parents moved into a new home which was adjacent to a cemetery. When a family member asked Mom if she thought living next to a cemetery was a bit eerie, she laughed and replied she enjoyed quiet neighbors. With her nursing background, she understood death was part of life. Among other many other things, I miss her sense of humor and our walks through the cemetery with our dogs. As her arm brushed mine, we talked, laughed, and untangled dog leashes. I miss those talks about our family, books we were reading, and the bunnies nesting along the fence. When I was in the cemetery with her, she frequently remarked she didn't like gaudy artificial flower arrangements on graves. Perhaps my Dad remembered Mom's remarks when he picked someone else's lilacs from an alley and placed them in a coffee can on her grave.
My husband's mother is buried in a small sweet country cemetery. When we arrived there, a gentle mist was falling. We left a pot of red and white flowers near her stone because she loved red. Although I visited there with her one time, I am less familiar with the stories associated with that cemetery. I wish I knew more of them.
Cemetery visits are only one way to remember. As I planted my beans and tomatoes, I thought of my grandfather who always had a beautiful garden. Lilacs also remind me of him. I think of him when he was a young man in 1918 who wanted nothing more than to come home from France "before the flowers bloomed." The smell of fresh baked orange rolls carries me back to my grandmother's pink kitchen. Spending a few minutes remembering those who have gone before enriches my life.