Saturday, May 27, 2006

Remembering: Memorial Day 2006

... the day we officially remember family and friends who've passed. The cemetery at home is marked with a white cross for each deceased veteran. Our family's slim urns are filled with seasonal artificial flowers - they last, just as our thoughts of them do. As I stand at their graves I wonder who will tend them after we're gone. We are a small family.

In France Jani and I visited a cemetery with porcelain flowers that were purchased at the local feed store. Some graves were old, untended, and the ground around them had caved in. The horror movies had us worried about walking too close for fear a bony hand would reach up and grab our ankles.

In Germany and Switzerland the graves were decorated with growing flowers. It was a competetion between the mature women as to who had the best looking graves.

We've visited the Coptic Church and Cemetery in Cairo, Egypt. The grounds are locked. Small houses are built over the graves for the family of the deceased to accept visitors, share food and drink. The body is placed in a casket under the house where it will reside until another needs the box. Bones are left under the house and the casket recycled. With low humidity the only odors we noticed were exhaust fumes. Public cemeteries have a few benches, some covered. Beggars can be found living there.

We spend time building relationships. When someone passes, we spend time adjusting to the gap. The best thing I can do for someone who passes is to continue to love them. This is not goodbye, I'll see you later. They've changed form, but their life hasn't skipped a beat. I hope my family and friends will do the same for me. Formally I remember them today, but they are never more than a thought away ,and they live in my heart forever.

copyright 2006 Red Convertible Travel Series

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