I won’t be visiting any cemeteries today despite it being Memorial Day. I understand it’s a the symbolic thing to do. I understand the comfort that can be gained by sitting at a graveside and talking to whomever is buried there. I know what it is to be there and sob and remember and miss someone so deeply you wonder how you’ve made it this far without them. I’ve nothing against those that chose to place the flowers and mementos. I’ve done it myself countless time and probably will do it again. I even think it’s an important thing to do as part of the whole mourning process.
What I don’t agree with is only doing this once a year or doing it out of some sort of family obligation and peer pressure. Doing it for those reasons, as far as I’m concerned, has no meaning. Furthermore, I have my doubts about all the Spirits getting together to show up at these cemeteries to check out the superficial trinkets so many chose to leave for them. “It’s a nice gesture,” you might say. “It shows I care about and remember that person.” Well, so does a pictures on a wall or keeping something special that same person gave you while alive. So does re-telling the stories those that have left prior have told you and adding the stories of your time with them. Share who that person was while they were living. Make your memories the memories of another.
Someone once told me that the only Spirit that ever dies is the one that is forgotten. I keep the Spirits of my ancestors and friends alive by honoring them in my heart, by putting them into my stories, by sharing and remembering.
So, no, you won’t see me at any cemeteries today placing flowers on graves. I’ll go another day with my camera. I’ll take my time and wander around, remembering the times I spent in such places with my grandmothers, my father, my friends and my children. Maybe someone else will be with me and in that case, I’ll share with them why I love these places so much. I’ll hope that in doing so my stories will be passed down and honored after I am dead and gone.