Sunday, May 27, 2012

Decoration Day

Grave site of my grandparents

Grave site of my parents

It is now called Memorial Day, but before that it was known as Decoration Day. Every year my parents would gather peonies, irises and lilacs. We would put them in large tomato soup cans filled with water. We had been saving those cans for weeks and weeks. Then we would load them up in the truck of the car. We had several cemeteries to travel to that day. We would spend time at each one, getting those cans of flowers placed just right. Those memories have lasted with me over the years.

This year, just like I have done for many years, we made our rounds of several cemeteries. Instead of the live flowers in tomato soup cans, I now purchase artificial flowers from Walmart. I make sure I have red, white and blue individual flowers for my grandparents' big urn on each side of their stone. I make sure I have something that says MOM and another that says DAD for either side of my parents' stone.

This is a tradition that I look forward to every year. It helps me keep memories alive and feel closer to those I've lost. I have been asked, "What are you going to do for the long weekend?" When I answer, "Well, one thing I will do is visit the cemeteries." I hear a version of this reply: "Why?" 

My hope is that this tradition does not get lost. The reason for this special holiday does not get forgotten. I want to be sure to take Graham and his little sister with me someday as we make our rounds of the grave sites. I want to tell them the stories of how as a little girl I would visit with my grandparents these very same cemeteries. I want them to have memories to keep.

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