Visiting the Graves on Memorial Day. When I was a boy, I always went with my parents to visit the graves of our deceased relatives on or near Memorial Day. (Yes, I know Memorial Day was originally designated to honor our troops, but it has expanded to become a day to honor all our deceased loved ones.) My dad tried to make it fun for my brother and me by bringing candy (red licorice and lemon drops) and a cooler full of soft drinks. We visited 7 cemeteries and drove at least 250 miles to place flowers on our family graves. Along the way, my parents told stories about their deceased parents and grandparents. We cleaned the graves, clipping the grass and pulling the weeds. And then we placed flowers on each grave.
I may have complained about this once or twice when I was young (not too often though), but now that my parents have been gone for 20 years, it is a treasured memory. I also remember that after I had children, my parents (who were really GoodGrandparents!) took my children along with them—with additional soft drinks, licorice, and lemon drops.
Some photos from the 2018 Memorial Day trek.
To honor my parents’ memory, I have kept up the Memorial Day tradition. Each Friday before Memorial Day, I take the day off work and visit 9 cemeteries, placing flowers on 18 family graves. It takes nearly all day, but I love doing it. It is a spiritual time for me, a time to reflect on my heritage and to remember that mortal life is short and fleeting. There is no time for holding a grudge or for hard feelings or for pettiness. There is only time to show love and kindness and make fond memories.