This blog will start deep – but I promise a funny story at the end…
I recently read a blog from a friend in Scotland. She is currently visiting with her dad and they took a trip to the local cemetery to visit her mom/his wife, who is buried there. She spoke of how her dad spoke to the various graves in the cemetery. They were all people he knew. She said that each headstone represent someone from his past.
I have visited my share of cemeteries and I really hadn’t thought about it before, but I am also one of those people who speaks to stone. I’m not sure why.
It is my belief, based on Scripture, that those who die as believers in Christ go to heaven when they die. In 2 Corinthians 5 the Bible says to be “absent from the body” is to be “present with the Lord.” Now that being said, why am I talking to gravestones? They are literally big pieces of marble with a name and dates on them.
One time, I remember visiting my grandpa’s grave. I remember standing there, staring at his headstone and talking out loud. I was telling him how much he’d love his grandson (I only had my oldest at the time), and the silly things he did. I thanked him for being such a big part of my life and more.
I always talk to my mom when I visit her grave. I always seem to get more emotional when I am there alone. When I go with my wife or my kids, they almost always give me time alone at the grave. They must know.
I cry when I am there. I miss her terribly. Sometimes I feel robbed that she is not here to be a part of all that is going on. Then I remember the cancer battle and how much pain she was in. I am selfish for wanting her here, but I am grateful that there is no more pain or suffering.
I know that she’d be so happy with what I have done with my life – college, good job, an amazing wife and more grandkids. I also know she’d spoil the heck out of all of those grandbabies if she were still here. She, however, is not. So I stand or sit at her graveside and I tell her how much I miss her, our chats, and other personal things. When I have said my peace, cried my tears, and am ready to go, I take one final look at the stone and walk back to my car.
Maybe I am a bit crazy. I am well aware that I am talking to a stone with my relative or friend’s name on them. I also know that all that is under the stone is the earthly remains, and that the soul that was that person is no longer there. So why do I speak to those loved ones who are no longer here, and why do I only do it at the cemetery? I mean, I could easily do it in the car while I drive, right?
I know that I am not the only one who does this. Perhaps there is some sort of psychological answer. I don’t know. I kind of wish I had the answer.
As Promised – the Funny Story
Coming from an Italian family, there were many times where certain members of my family didn’t speak to each other. Once such case was my grandfather and his sisters. He made it very clear to my grandmother and my dad that when he passed away, he wanted no obituary. He did not want them knowing that he had died.
Those wishes were honored. He passed away in 1994, so there was no internet to look up records or anything like that. There was also no “Find a Grave” website to do a search and find where people, both famous and not famous, were buried.
My grandmother often went to the cemetery to visit my grandfather. There were many Sundays when they would go to trim around the head stone, or put out a grave blanket. Sofia from the Golden Girls reminds me of my grandma. She was a tiny, stubborn, and strong Italian woman.
One day, my dad pulled up to my grandpa’s grave and there were flowers on it. My grandma was out of the car like a shot to see what it was all about. Attached to the flowers was a note, obviously meant for my grandma to find. I don’t recall exactly what it said, but it was something like: “Dear brother. We are only now finding out that you passed away. We loved you so very much. We are sorry that you were kept from us…” or SOMETHING like that.
I have seen my grandma get mad. I was not there for this particular incident, but I can almost bet that a slow boil began in the pit of her stomach and worked its way up. I am sure with each sentence she read her anger grew and her face got red. I am also pretty sure that there was probably some sort of explosion that was audible when she finally “burst.”
(Now get that picture of Sofia from the Golden Girls in your mind as you picture the visual) She grabbed those flowers in one hand, planted herself like a quarterback getting ready to throw a Hail Mary pass, and as she fired those flowers into the air, she screamed, “F^%$ YOU!!!”
As she yelled and the profanity echoed across the cemetery, I am sure birds fluttered into the air, scared for their life. For years, whenever we brought that story up, grandma would casually chuckle and remind us of just how mad she was.