Like many others, this past Memorial Day weekend, finds me visiting the grave sites of friends and family who have passed away. This is not a new experience for me as we do this every memorial weekend. As I approached the cemetery, a sense of sadness overtakes me. My thoughts fell on to the question, “Why do we visit and revisit family and friends who are no longer alive?”
Well, we revisit to pay honor and tribute to them especially to those who have served for our country. We honor for many reasons as we must remember that life is more than just our living here and that the world does not rotate around us.
We cannot help but be impressed by all the headstones that line manicured field. There are so many shapes and sizes that reflect the different times and customs that have been etched into the fabric or of the institution that make the final resting place of so many. These cemeteries mean so much as they are indeed the final resting places of our beloved and those who have served in militaries and wars.
Once we are walking between the monuments the memories flood back of individuals we have known and times spent together. Perhaps someone sees their grandfather and grandmothers’ graves. This brings to mind memories their childhood. The impressions their grandparents may have contributed to making them a better person.
Another person who has visited a grave during yesterday’s Memorial Day holiday may have remembered an uncle who past. Thoughts and memories may run through their minds as such, “He was a good man I believe although he struggled with alcohol and lived in another state most of my life.”
A man remembers his older sister who died at the age of five. She was severely burned when he was just 18 months old. He never knew her but heard so much about her. His first child was named after his sister because of the longing to know her and carry on her existence in some way.
Many people with many memories walked between the monuments. Each tombstone contains a multitude of memories and emotions. Some happy, some sad but memories and emotions, no less. And I wonder how long before my wife will someday walk past my monument and what memories will I bring to them? Will they be happy memories or sad memories that I leave with them? Will my life inspire them to be better people?
The answer to this question is still in play. I will live today to the best of my ability to leave them a better example of how to live a full life like so many of my friends and family have done for me. As I learn from my mistakes, I continue to work on me so that I can be the best I can for them now and to leave the memories that are good and enduring in their lives.
How about you, Dear Reader, what kind of life will you leave for those who you care about? We’ll all build our real tomb stones one day at a time. What will your monument say about you?