Saturday, May 24, 2014

Visiting Dad’s Grave


Going to the little cemetery where Dad is buried, located about a mile downstream from where I was raised, was sort of hard for me the first few years after his passing. Now that nearly 30 years have passed, and my own stone lies next to his, awaiting my permanent arrival, I’m not filled with the loss that I once felt. In fact, as wicked as this old world is getting, and knowing to some degree who and what awaits me, I almost look forward to the day that I can join him, and many others whose earthly remains lie here in what some might call “God’s Half-Acre.”

I put a flag on his grave, since that was the reason for the visit. He didn’t have to give his life in the big war that took so many of his friends and neighbors. He was one of the lucky ones; he came home after the war was over. I’m thankful he did, or I wouldn’t be here, but I wish I’d asked him more questions.

Even though I don’t feel despondent over the fact that his body lies here, and his parents, who I remember, lay next to him, a sort of sadness still makes itself known to me. Some folks would understand, but many would not. I stroll around the cemetery, reading the names and dates inscribed for those lucky enough to have a stone. Some stones show evidence of being visited within the last few months or days. Some look pretty much forgotten. There is the sad part of the experience, that so many are forgotten. Some of the folks whose lives these stones represent are spending their eternity with their saved loved ones and the one we call “Jesus.” No-one should wish them back. Others are probably spending an eternity of unfathomable suffering, but I hope very few. Still, many of both are now forgotten.

Sometimes I think it’s a curse to be both a sentimentalist and a history buff. Reading the names of relatives, neighbors and acquaintances who have gone on before me, I realize how little I know about some of them. Other names are simply names that I heard in the conversations of the people who now lie here. Some names I haven’t even heard of. Yet each name represents a life; and each life had a story, perhaps MANY stories. For most, though, those stories are forever lost, unless someone writes them down and finds a way to pass them along. Most stories die with the person. The rest die with the children and grandchildren, if there were any. Except for knowing that a few folks here are suffering torment, the loss of those stories strikes me as the greatest source of sadness here. I wish I could have heard all their stories. I wish you could have heard them, too.

Talk to the old folks while you can. They won’t be here much longer, nor will we, so tell your story to someone. Maybe they’ll pass it on. © 2014


Kathy Felsted Usher said...

My husband loves to find old books where people from long ago recount how life was, not famous people, just folks. I wish we would have written down some of the stories my father in law told,we'll never get them all right.

Mamahen said...


Vicki said...

We are the sum total of those who went before us. I heartily agree that it is important to remember our history. I try, as often as I can, to write down my memories of family, so that perhaps later, my grandchildren will know who they really are.

Gorges Smythe said...

Write them down as best you can antway, Kathy. Anything is better than nothing. In the meanwhile, write your own story down for your grandkids.

Is that for the stories missed, Mh?

Good for you, Vicki.

Mamahen said...

Yes....I always feel when anyone passes, there will never be another just like them so it's a little sad. Even more so if there story isn't recorded in some way!

Gorges Smythe said...

Are you writing yours, Mh? ;-)

Penny said...

This is quite a tender post, Gorges. I relate quite a bit to this one, again. Passing time definitely has an effect. Sometimes when I travel, I like to go to cemeteries to read and imagine stories. Some are very sad, of course. I used to keep massive journals, but now we have blogging to help with keeping the family stories perpetuated. My mom likes to print out some of my entries and I have wondered if I should do something like that to have hard copies of certain things. I know they have software for doing that...making books out of your blogs, etc. But really, I have so much written on paper and online, I can't imagine anyone really wanting to take the time to read much of it.

Kev Alviti said...

I always take great interest in what older folks say and try to learn from them. Something good to remember though, thanks.

JaneofVirginia said...

Lovely post, Gorges. I try to write all I know down, and pass it along. I know that God saves all the stories and when we are reunited, they are once again known to us.
Our time here is fragile and fleeting, and still very precious.

Gorges Smythe said...

It would probably be any grandkids that would be most interested, Penny; kids tend to think they already know all about you, at least until you're gone. Save EVERYTHING when it comes to your stories.

Listening is a start, Kev.

Yes it is, Jane.

Jess said...

I've wondered about my mother, who died before I was a year old. My father rarely talked about her, but I know he loved her dearly and was shattered by her death.

We don't have much time. It seems limitless, when we're young, but age brings on the awareness our journey is short and so much of who we are will disappear like the faint smoke from an old campfire on a crisp morning.

Gorges Smythe said...

Maybe someone is still alive who remembers her, or stories about her, Jess. It's never too late to check.