Each Memorial Day weekend, we visit the cemeteries where family members have been buried.
When we were younger, it meant that we visited one cemetery, where Merle’s mom was buried. She died in 1992. She is buried in a very large, gorgeous cemetery in Minneapolis, she shares the place with the likes of Hubert Humphrey, Charles Lindbergh and Tiny Tim. It was a nice way to spend an afternoon on a holiday weekend. We’d bring some flowers, spend some time remembering her, and taking a short tour of the cemetery grounds. The kids almost enjoyed the family obligation.
This year, we are many years older. And unfortunately that means that we have lost several more family members. Strange the way that happens. It sneaks up on you.
On Saturday, we visited four cemeteries, drove 500 miles, and were gone from 8 am to 9 pm. At this point, we’d better not lose any more family members. We just physically would not be able to add another stop to our day.
We visited both my mother- and father-in-law and my husband’s uncle in Minneapolis; Merle’s aunt, grandmother, grandfather and great uncle in a small Minnesota town along the Mississippi River; my father, stepmother, paternal grandmother, and great-grandparents in La Crosse, Wisc, and my sister, maternal grandparents and great grandmother in a small town near the Wisconsin Dells.
Then we turned around and drove home.
This “cemetery run” as I called it brought out a lot of emotion for me. Of course, I felt sadness at the loss of these people I love. It felt right to be there to honor them with some flowers and a few words.
But most of all, it brought home my mortality. All too soon, I am the one who will be reduced to a few letters and numbers on a hunk of stone.
That was not the most disturbing thought, though.
My biggest question of the day…..Who is going to come and put a flower there on my name, or say a couple of words, or tell a story or two about me?
I don’t mind the first so much as long as I get a little of the other as well.