Thursday, May 28, 2009

Memorial Day Cemetery Visits

Visiting graves on Memorial Day wasn’t our tradition while I was growing up. My family had moved to California, and family graves were in Oklahoma. But I remember my Aunt Chris’s long letters detailing her visits to friends’ and relatives’ graves each year. She reported which cemeteries looked good, and which ones appeared overgrown or neglected. Often she took her own scissors and trash bags to clean up the area around each significant grave. She left flowers on each one. This Memorial Day ritual continued until her death a few years ago at age 86.

Now her daughters (and sometimes others) continue this tradition. Twice I have accompanied them on Memorial Day. It has been a day to reconnect with my cousins and share the latest news of our families. It is also a time to talk about our deceased relatives and keep the stories alive.

Our cemetery visits to four small town cemeteries take most of a day. We leave Oklahoma City around 9:00 and travel to cemeteries in Blanchard, Dibble, Lindsay, and Purcell. By the time we place flowers on all the graves, eat lunch, and return to Oklahoma City, it’s afternoon.

This year we also stopped at the farm where my mother and her siblings grew up, between Lindsay and Dibble. It’s fun to look at the pastures and try to imagine my mother working and playing on this land eighty years ago. Now the farm belongs to my cousins.

I love this time of year in Oklahoma. Everything looks so green.

It was a good day, spent with good people remembering other good people. Good people I remember well, such as my grandmother, aunts, and uncles. Good people I never knew, such as great-grandparents and grandparents who died before I was born and the uncle killed in World War II (whose name is carried on through my brother and my son).
It's good to remember all these lives that are connected to mine. I am grateful.

1 comment:

drlobojo said...

How come the comment section on this post is so dead?