Friday, May 25, 2012

In Reflection

Aunt Welma arrived wearing a big hat, carrying a bucket and carrying garden tools. Mom and I arrived with a bucket and rags. We arrived at Gettysburg Cemetery. It was Memorial Day. This was a yearly meeting of family at the family plot. Before Pop Johnson passed, he and I would walk around the cemetery, he passing on stories of the people beneath the stone. My aunt and mother cleaned the marker and planted new flowers in place.

I learned to have respect for the resting place of those we love. I learned to wash the year's grim from the stone. I also learned the stories of the family often repeated each year. Many of those brought laughter to these two women. First we cleaned off my grandparents' stone, then we cleaned those markers of other family members. We then visited Newcomer Cemetery where my other grandparents and extended family lie. Mom and I repeated the same with me eventually wandering off to read the stones in the old part of the cemetery.

It doesn't need to be Memorial Day when I visit the site where my parents rest. I visit it in my heart and mind this time of year. I sit once more before their marker as I do with each visit to Neff Road. Their daughters' names are on the back of the stone. A wonderful tradition keeping our family record. I sit looking at my reflection between their names carved in black stone. In the background sits the house where Mom and Dad first lived. I sit there talking to them cleansing the stone with my tears. I feel closer to them there. I like to think that they, too, are looking back at that face reflecting onto the stone. The face of their child.

It is a time of remembering. My yearly trip home to Neff Road.

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