It was beautiful at the cemetery this afternoon. Peaceful too. Despite the somber occasion, there was a certain stillness, a feeling of love and serenity that seemed to touch everyone there. Was it because of the love, loyalty, and dedication of the deceased to family, friends, church, community, and country? Was it because we knew that the 87 years of this man’s life had been full and rich? In recent years he had become quite computer savvy, and his progeny loved to hear him say, “Just google it.” Gotta love that! Was it because we were all moved by his legacy? Was it because of the sincere words of the minister and the soul stirring songs of the soloist?
I don’t know what made this funeral so memorable unless it could be, in addition to the above, the fact that watching his great grandchildren playing beneath the trees near the gravesite brought home the wondrous marvel of the cycle of life. I knew this man through his daughter and her siblings when we were children. Now Patty has grown children and grandchildren. Yesterday we were wearing our patent leather shoes to First Baptist Church, and today she was burying her father as her grandchildren sat in their parents’ laps and squirmed to be free.
I looked at many of the older mourners and recognized them as the “grownups” from my youth. Then they were younger than I am now, and yet as a child, they had seemed so old and all-knowing. I glanced to the side of the funeral tent and saw my friend’s ex-husband playing with their youngest grandchild and found myself smiling. Turning to Joan Ella, I said, “I just love families.” She feels the same way, and we chatted briefly about the cycle of life.
Later DH and I returned to the cemetery and walked quietly among some of the plots. I especially wanted to visit the graves of my paternal grandparents. Can it have been 21 years since my grandmother Beatrice died? Yes. According to her tombstone, she died on May 2, 1988. 21 years ago I stood on that very spot, and at my Aunt Polly’s request, read The Giving Tree.
1988. So many people I loved dearly have died since then, and many, many others have come into my life. Just a quick example. My grandmother’s middle name was Emmaline (hope I’m spelling that correctly), and my youngest granddaughter’s name is Emma. Is it because of her great grandmother, or is it because of Emma Smith? I don’t know. I just know that I love that little tyke and her siblings with a fierce love, and they weren’t even close to being in my life then. Their mother was only 12 in May of 1988. There’s that cycle of life thing again.
Aren’t families fabulous? Funny too. But then that’s a story for another day.