Originally Posted 5/31/11
Today is Memorial Day. The last time I went to a cemetery on Memorial Day was the Memorial Day after my mom died. We went because they always say the names of all the veterans who had passed in the last year. I remember sitting there, listening to list of names being said. I was 12 at this point and I remember even on that warm May day, I felt cold. I looked around the cemetery that I had been to so many times before and I knew now what all it meant. The years before my Mor Mor and my mom had always taken me to visit Mor Far’s grave and an older sister I had who died as a baby. In those years prior, I had always played on the gravestones. 3 in particular were my favorite. They were the kind that were completely cement, no dirt. I would jump from one to the other till Mor Mor told me to stop and have respect for the dead. I didn’t know what she meant. I don’t think I fully understood what “dead” meant and that people could be dead.
But on that Memorial day, waiting for my mom’s name to be said, there was no jumping from grave to grave. In fact, I was very careful of where I walked. In the last year, I had lost my dad, my mom, and Mor Mor, and the dirt on their graves was still fresh. I now knew what was under my feet. Under my feet were people that had once been loved and been full of life. That was 16 years ago and I have never been back on a Memorial Day. I have been to the graves countless times but due to where I live and I have never been close enough to make the trip. But now I am visiting for my niece’s graduation and I am faced with going, and not only going, but I have both girls with me also. I have never taken them before. No specific reason but now that I have the option I don’t know if I want to. Is a cemetery a place for a 3-year-old? She really won’t understand, and I pray that she will never understand until she is much, much older. But then again, there must always be a first.
I decide that yes, I will go. And I will take both girls. And you know what? It worked. Yes she didn’t understand and yes I had to get after to not to pick the flowers off of other graves but we had fun. We picked the spare flowers that had blown away and even a couple real flowers. And to top things off, she jumped from grave to grave on the 3, just like another little girl did not so many years ago.