In our culture we put flowers on the graves of our loved ones for special occasions like Christmas or All Saints Day. We also plant some in the ground for the summer. After accompanying my mother on these excursions as a child, I continued the tradition after her death.
I have shared this task with my niece who lives closer to the cemetery. This year I bought the flowers first so I planted. I picked out hot pink geraniums. My mother loved them. I planted them in front of the family gravestone.
The cemetery is owned by my childhood church. It is a lovely place to visit because everyone plants. There are beautiful flowers blooming among the green grass and gravestones — very parklike except for the dead people.
When I arrived, there was a crew digging a grave and two other women planting. It was very quiet except for the backhoe.
I turned the soil over, added humus, planted the flowers, mulched and watered. Since no one takes care of the flowers all summer, the mulch keeps the weeks down and the soil moist.
Then I noticed the crew leaving with their backhoe. I was not thinking about it at all until I noticed that they circled around and parked in the back part of the cemetery. They just sat in the truck.
Oh no! They will sit there until the funeral is complete. Then they will close the grave. That means there is a funeral on the way!
There is no way I want to get caught up in a funeral procession or end up with my car parked in by sad people breaking my pleasant reverie. I don’t think I have ever moved so fast to get my tools in the car and get out of Dodge.
That was really unfortunate because I enjoy walking the grounds to see who is new. I know many of the family names. They were people who were adults when I was a kid. I thought they were “old” back then! Now I am older than they were and I think it’s young!
As a young child my mother would take me on walks in old cemeteries. They were fascinating gravestones and we would weave stories about the inhabitants. Sometimes there were many young children in a family (typhoid epidemic?) or two or three wives (the travails of childbirth). Life was short and hard back then. I feel lucky I to be living now. I wonder if people will feel the same way in another century.
For a far funnier post about cemetery tripping, read A Thin Girl’s post here.