Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about family, those you have gone on before, those who are still with us and those whom we choose to be family.
Guess I’m known as the family historian, when family members have questions, they come to me…when my siblings and cousins children have had genealogy projects at school, they call me. Learning about those who have come before us makes my heart feel alive.
Growing up, those who had crossed the great river of life were seldom ever mentioned in our family. My maternal grandfather passed away when I was only a year-and-a-half old. He’d been ill for many years before I was born, no pictures, not so much as one, was ever taken of the two of us in the same photo. One of the few things in my life that truly saddens me.
Grampa was seldom ever mentioned when we were kids. We knew he was a school custodian and head bus driver at the small school in the small town my mother grew up in and that he was the sexton of the cemetery in that town. That was all we knew.
About 20 years or so ago I was curious enough to ask Gramma for some family photos. About 16 years ago I became wrapped up in and interested in genealogy when my paternal grandfather’s first cousin started sending around questionnaires to the family to put together a family genealogy going back to my Great Great Grandparents. I was hooked and so honored when he allowed my help through the internet ancestry site, there wasn’t much I was able to contribute compared to everything he already had. He was an amazing man, my cousin Marvin.
A couple days ago I hit two of the family cemeteries to lay flowers for Thanksgiving, I’d already hit four and still didn’t get everyone visited. The other cemeteries will need to be the first hit at Christmas flower time. It’s what I call cemetery hopping, makes my daughter roll her eyes.
To me, one of the very most important things a person can do for their loved ones who have left this earth is to at least once a year go to visit , pull any weeds or trim any grass the lawn people have missed, getting rid of the dried and caked on grass stuck to the stones and getting rid of the weather worn flowers. Flowers or new pretties are always nice to add, but not as important as being respectful enough to clean up.
My daughter called from college one afternoon this fall when I was putting out fall flowers and cleaning around stones, she made the noise she makes when she doesn’t like what I’ve said. I told her that decades from now, when I’m gone, I want her to take care of me and dad, clean up and set flowers at least once a year. Kaet grumbled and said no, she didn’t plan on living around here. She wasn’t humored when I asked if she could at least fly home one a year. No, she didn’t think so. Leo said he’d take care of me, he’s not freaked out by cemeteries like his sister is.
My sister-and-law and I had a talk not too long ago about having gone to put flowers down at her and Kirk’s materal grandparents and a few other of their relatives. She is like Kaet, she doesn’t feel the need or want to go see the family at the cemeteries and her thought process is that, they aren’t there, which I can completely understand. To her, she thinks to the family and that’s more than enough for her.
We all have our various ways in which we relate with this who have gone on before us. Kaet just prefers to not think about it, they are gone and in Heaven and with their loved ones and that’s the end. I can totally understand that thought process as well.
To me, going and giving of myself that little bit to show some respect is something that makes me feel good and it’s something I feel honored to do.