Thursday, September 16, 2010

Visiting Family

The period of time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is known as the Days of Awe. During this time, it is customary to make visits to the cemeteries where your loved ones are buried. Today we picked up Chuck’s 87 year old aunt and drove to the collection of Jewish cemeteries in Woburn. We stopped at the first gate to pick up some pebbles from an open tray and went to our family member’s graves. On each headstone, we each placed one of the pebbles. They are left as a sign of respect and as a visible acknowledgement of the visit. Tante managed to leave her walker behind and, leaning on Chuck, walk to her parents and brother’s gravesite. But as the visiting continued, she stayed on the main paved path and we served as her ambassadors, leaving pebbles for her on the headstones of other relatives. As we walked, Tante would stop, read an inscription on a marker, remember and then tell us so and so was friends with Grandma or so and so worked with your father.

I do not like death or grief or loss. But I do love visiting a cemetery. I also love a good funeral home and a truly fine funeral. Apparently my pleasure today was evident because Chuck told me later that Tante said to him: “Lee’s certainly enjoying herself!” I think she likes that we are comfortable with the tradition of visiting; of reminiscing; of connecting the branches on the family tree. I think she also appreciated that as we walked around the cemeteries today, we began to take note of what Tante would like her headstone to look like. (Her plot is right next to her parents and brother.) Turns out, she likes a very finely grained, pale, pink granite!


Ms Brown Mouse said...

I'm not at all keen on funerals but I LOVE a good cemetery, the older the better.
I also love the idea of leaving a stone to show you've dropped by, a robust calling card if you will!

Pink Granite said...

Hi DMM -
I like that description: "a robust calling card"!
We think it is a great tradition.

barbie2be said...

i love cemeteries too!

Sue said...

I've only ever been into cemetaries a handful of times. I really don't like them, I find them creepy and I always feel uncomfortable remembering the saddness families and friends have endured. Just me, I know. I'm cuckoo, as Jake likes to say.

Seriously though, I really don't like funerals and never sing funeral songs (at funerals or else where) - you know the ones - Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art... I'm finished within the first line.

Glad you had a good time though and I'm glad that Tante managed to share it with you and Chuck!!

Sue X