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Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Ruminations

Every year, just before Memorial Day my cousin washes all the graves in our family in Vancouver and places fresh flowers from his wife’s garden. Cemeteries keep the grass mowed, but that is about it so untended to moss will eat into the granite and marble. My mother, who lives too far away to do it and is far too feeble anyway, is very appreciative to know that the graves of her parents and older brother are tended as well as those of her aunts, great-nephew and brother-in-law .

My uncle used to take flowers to all the family graves in Dade County Missouri—seventy of them the last year he did it. I liked knowing he was doing it and the fact he was here. Maybe one year I can be back there for Memorial Weekend and at least tend my grandparents, great-grandparents and my father’s graves.

But everyone I have loved and lost lingers here still. Whenever I look into the freckled face of my five-year-old granddaughter and see my father or recognize my grandmother’s countenance on the baby. My grandchildren are a kind of everyday Memorial Day to my family so although I can’t visit the final resting places of those I love this year, I can see them in my children and grandchildren. May you feel the nearness of those you love today and every day.

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