I'm not exactly sure why we go and visit gravesites after people have died. I know it's a learned behavior because I've been doing it ever since I was a kid and went to Graves with my dad with my grandmother or with other relatives on special occasions or just on trips on Sundays to go visit different cemeteries.
The commentary on those trips always brought up memories about the different people that we were " visiting". And of course there had to be the occasional slide in on how pitiful or how sad it was that certain families weren't maintaining the flowers or letting them fade on certain graves and wasn't it just too bad and bless their hearts etc. etc. My dad spent a lot of years and a lot of time and a lot of money making sure that my grandparents graves always had flowers no matter what his health or his condition. he would make sure that they were changed out on a regular basis. Sure I am aware that part of that had to do with appearances but I believe in my heart of hearts that it was about love and respect and even with those little slides and comments back in those days I know that the maintenance of those graves and the visiting that was done was sincere and love and was about really honoring those people and in someway staying connected to them.
I guess I know it even more now because today I went to see my dad's stone be placed. It is a lovely piece and my sister did such a great job stewarding the process with this and sending the images and asking me what I thought. it really ended up making it very special. The most special part was the scripture that says from James Blessed be the man who perseveres. It really is very lovely. While I stood there and looked at the stone and the grass that has given way to the winter Brown and flatten under my feet I knew that my daddy was not there. But at the same time I knew he would be very very pleased with what I was looking at and feel honored by what we had done. There was a real sense of peace and a real sense of warmth even in that cold air. Like something out of a movie, the bells in the chapel struck 11 right when I stood in front of it and that beautiful sound in the wind and everything culminating together just made for a perfect moment in which I could really sense daddy at rest. For the first time in my life standing in front of a gravesite while still knowing that daddy wasn't there I got a genuine sense of comfort. It was reassuring and at the same time still dealing with the newness of all this in experiencing Christmas for the first time without him it was also a real feeling of finality. Now for me I'm not going to take up space in the ground when I go. I'm good to be cremated and my ashes spread on Mount Piagah Above Asheville.
. I was given two places to lay my head one when I was born because Poppa Phelps had made a plot for the whole family and everybody had a place in that lot and then Mr. freeze before he passed away bought places for Michael and myself in a place near his resting place in Salisbury. But I figure those spaces will just have to be taken up by somebody else. Not to mention the fact that neither of those spots nor the spreading of my ashes are anything that I am planning on doing any time soon. But when you go to visit gravesites one's mind does tend To wonder.
Best I could figure one day at a time I am still being granted this gift of life and as long as I have a purpose and I'm given some opportunity I have some things that still need to get done. The blessing of it all is that no matter what I have extraordinary opportunities and great people and so many blessings and all those people that I can visit like my daddy at those gravesites have given me so much to propel me even further each and every day by both the blessings and the teaching that they've given Up until this point.