Passing Thoughts

(If you look closely you”ll see the angel guarding these graves)

I spent some time at Cedar Grove Cemetery at the University of Notre Dame today.  It was a really warm, beautiful, quiet day.  As some of you know, my mother-in-law passed away about a month ago.  Per her request, she was cremated, and the burial service was delayed until all the members of the family could be here.  We set the date for her burial service for Mother’s day, to commemorate her life among us.   I spent the morning trimming shrubbery away from the headstone, pulling weeds that had sprouted this Spring, and clipping the grass that was overgrowing its bounds around the stone.  I wanted the gravesite to look as best it could.  After the landscaping chores I scrubbed and polished the stone and sealed it with a coating that will maintain the beautiful, bright shine of the marble.

As I finished these chores I looked around me at all of the other gravesites.  Observation revealed that some had been meticulously maintained, some had been tended, but not frequently, and some were just left to be overgrown, with markers lost in overgrown grass, weeds, and untrimmed shrubs.  I wondered about each, feeling that there was some meaning hidden in the condition of the gravesites.  Maybe those that seemed uncared for had no one left alive to maintain them, the rest, in various states of maintenance had someone who, for their own reasons, took the time to care for the graves.

Why is it that we care for the gravesites of those who passed before us?  Is it just a sense of duty, obligation, pride, (or in some cases, guilt)?  I feel that there’s something more involved.  I think most of us do these things out of a sense of reverence, respect for the life of that person whose human remains lie there, be they someone famous, notorious, or more importantly, a loved one.  I believe we do this with a feeling of hope that they have entered into a happier state of being, beyond human death.

I have to believe that this human existance is only a waystation on our journey, a place to live, learn, and grow in knowledge and spirit before we pick up our journey again.  My hope is that I learn enough, grow enough.  Sorry for the rambling prose.  These were just thoughts as I passed the morning.









12 thoughts on “Passing Thoughts

  1. As I read this, Paul, I was reminded of a graveside service I attended last year. The talk was short, the but message clear.

    He asked how many had visited the Holy Lands, and went on to say that he was amazed when he went there – as each day he was taken to another place and told, ‘this is the place’ (the place where Jesus was entombed). He couldn’t believe it – how could no one know for sure? And yet, when he got home, he realized it was because the resurrection shadowed the burial. If He had been in one of those places, it would have been remembered, but He wasn’t. He concluded by saying, ‘So, if you wish to find your brother, husband, friend, come not to this place for he is not here. He has already gone to a better life. To see him again, you’ll have to go there.’

    I don’t know that I would agree or not, but I liked this analogy. For me, I would prefer no one come to a cemetery to honor me. They honor me more by living, and surely I should write on my stone, ‘I’m not here.’ ~ You’re a good man and a good son-in-law, Paul. ~ Ever, Bobbie

  2. I believe this is just one of our addresses Paul. I have told my children when I move, when my address changes and it is a place that they cannot come to visit until they move to that part of life, please celebrate that I have moved, and be of good cheer that one day they too will have a vehicle capable of meeting me at my new home.


    1. Re-read this, Sheri, and I really love this idea. Not gone, just living in a different place. A beautiful, positive way to approach the idea of physical death. You are so masterful at positive approaches. XO

  3. I think of that often, too. When I feel overwhelmed, I like to visit the cemetery for perspective. I visit the graves of people I’ve lost and I observe the state of other tombstones and wonder about the human remains lying beneath and of whether the state of their gravesite reflects what their life meant to those they’ve left behind.

    It’s great to know that I’m not the only one who wonders about these things, Paul! 😉

    P.S. I am very intrigued by the angel in the picture, please do tell us more!! (:

  4. and the Angel was there for you too…
    you have one that is always near….
    Beautiful post tonight…I enjoyed..
    not the passing…the celebrating of her life….
    it is more than a way station I feel…it is a place to remember who we are
    and where we came from….and what we are made of….each lesson understood
    we grow lighter…..
    Take care …You Matter….

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