My brother and I have divided responsibility for flowers on our parents and grandparents graves. This is my year to look after Mom and Dad; so I purchased a cone bouquet of silk flowers and last week I placed the flowers in front of the stone. It was windy and I worried that they would be damaged. This Sunday I went back to the cemetery to check on the flowers.
I trekked across the cemetery. The rain was pelting down on my umbrella. As I walked past a straggly oak scrub I noticed that the brown, crispy leaves still clung to the branches. Wind and rain lashed the leaves and I was sure that I could hear the ghostly voices of the inhabitants of the cemetery. The voices were sad and lonely. They yearned for all the loved ones left behind.
I continued on to the back of the cemetery to my parents plot. I found that the cone was leaning over, the spike on the bottom bent forward. Struggling with the umbrella in one hand and trying to straighten the bouquet and spike with the other hand I was getting whipped by the wind and rain. At this point the umbrella turned inside out. Giving in to the elements I laid the umbrella down and fixed the flowers. Satisfied that they were OK I then fixed the umbrella. I was now soaking wet.
Leaving the cemetery I exited past the leafy oak tree. This time I tarried to listen to the voices and decided that they now sounded like a choir singing the praises of all who dwell here and not sad ghostly voices.
All of this prompted me to recall past experiences in cemeteries. I was unaware of how much time I had spent exploring cemeteries.
Several years ago I took my grandson to the grave of his paternal grandparents. It had been our intention to place flowers on their grave; however; having left town with the street lights shining we did not realize how dark it would be at the cemetery. We stumbled about in the dark looking for their grave stone. We did not immediately find it. The shadows danced around us in our journey causing me to think of all the Halloween stories I have been told. The grave stone was eventually found, flowers placed and a hasty retreat was made to the car. I hope that I have not traumatized my grandson.
The next foray to the grave yard was with my granddaughter. Years ago; my father started a tradition by planting tulip bulbs beside head stones of family members. To continue this tradition we set off with a bag of tulip bulbs and a trowel. Carefully I dug small holes in front of my parents stone and she planted the bulbs. We also added bulbs to my grandparents and my uncle’s grave site. I sincerely hoped that no one would mistake us for grave robbers.
I hope that I have not traumatized another grandchild.
How many grandchildren can share stories about adventures in cemeteries with an eccentric grandmother?