Remembering my first trip to the cemetery. I was just six. Grandmother had died, and there were red roses on her casket. They gave me one. I took it home and was angry at it. I think I destroyed it, but that memory, like many of my only grandparent is gone. I still cannot smell the rich fragrance of roses and think of anything but that day.
My grandmother had come from Whales when she was an 8 year old child in 1892. Somehow the love of polka music had gotten into her soul, and that is the musical memory she gave me. Singers belted their yodels through her brown record-player speakers, and they echoed them against her apartment walls. She had a bed in the living room I think. I don’t know why. It had a big thick club under it to hit a bad guy if needed. But her heart attacked her before they could, and all I got to keep was a rose.
Her son truly broke my heart for the first time ever. As a 33 year old, I had never missed a day of work because of illness. But I missed one with broken heart right after discovering that my father was dying of cancer. I came in that morning to the office in the back corner of the old Parkview church building—facing the state park and the parking lot. But I couldn’t stay. I cried and Vivian told me she’d explain just before I left for home.
But the days since my father’s passing in 1992 have largely healed the wound of his loss. A deep scar is still there, but I don’t mind its presence because other and more profound impressions upon me have marked me for the better. The joys of his presence and the lessons he instilled were more than worth the agonizing pain of his loss. And that loss still hurts. And those joys and lessons still heal and bless.
When was your first visit to a cemetery? When was your most painful? Do really believe that Jesus conquered death's victory? This is a good week to remember that grave is not all it's cracked up to be.