I’ve been spending a lot of time with dead ancestors lately–all of those relatives who have passed a long, long time ago, but still have a connection through blood. Since today is also the birthday of a sibling who has passed, it just seemed a good day to walk through the tombstones.
Throughout my childhood and teen years, my immediate family lost a grandfather and uncle within a three-month span, and three sisters and a brother within a year and a half of each other. All were sudden, tragic, and traumatic. Visits to the cemetery were frequent, and it was always a place of peace and remembrance. Since I’ve moved away from the burial sites of my loved ones, trips to the cemetery are not possible. It’s always a stop when we visit, though.
In the process of researching my family tree, I found a wonderful website where cemeteries can be visited. I’m so thankful for volunteers who take photos of headstones to help families record their history. Because of their time, I was able to visit great grandparents in Illinois, grandparents and siblings in Ohio, and sixth great grandparents in Maryland. I can remember the ones who are a part of my memories and pay respect to the ones I’ve never met. I plan to visit them all in person in the next few years, but for now I can do the next best thing.
I imagine some would find this activity sad. To me, there’s something healing in shedding a few tears for those who have passed and hold dear a scent, a memory, or an embrace that will always live on.