Memorial Day Memories

Happy Friday Everyone, this weekend is Memorial Day Weekend!

As Memorial Day approaches once again, I can’t help but think back to the days when I was younger and would get dragged to the cemetery by my mom to place flowers on the graves of loved ones that had passed.  I say dragged, because back then my siblings and I didn’t have the option of staying home and watching television or playing video games while the elders went to the cemetery.  People took decorating graves very seriously, and it was something that my grandmothers, my mom, and my aunts took to heart each year.  Fresh cut flowers, (usually peonies or roses) were placed in either a coffee can, or a mason jar that was wrapped in aluminum foil, filled to the rim with water to keep them fresh for as long as possible, and placed on top the graves of a loved one.

Rarely did I ever remember seeing the plastic arrangements that you so often see today, and when I did I remember thinking that whoever left them must be really rich to afford an arrangement like that!  Once we had our flowers in place, my mom would start walking back and forth across the cemetery with us kids in tow to check out the other floral arrangements and who they were honoring.  We had to be careful where we walked in the cemetery, so we wouldn’t walk on top of someone’s grave. That was something that my mom would not tolerate and we learned early in life to stay close to her and not venture off on our own.

There was a section of the cemetery that was really old and she always enjoyed going there to see how far back the dates on the tombstones went.  Very few graves in that section were ever decorated, and many were so old that the numbers that had been carved into them were worn off.  Those were the graves that mom would stand by the longest, because she thought it was sad that all their loved ones had passed as well and there was nobody left to remember them.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but my mom was teaching me a wonderful lesson about respecting those that had gone before us and the importance of every single life, even if we didn’t know them.

My mom has been gone for almost nine years now, but I can still feel her presence especially when I am out at the cemetery for Memorial Day.  Memories of her dragging me and my siblings around the cemetery now makes me smile and every once in a while I find myself walking back and forth across the cemetery to look at all the arrangements just like she did and remember a cherished time I spent with my mom.

-Cindy D.