When we first moved here, I would tell friends that we lived down the gravel road past the old cemetery. Somehow, the operative word for me was old. I thought of how Anne Shirley had wandered the rows of the cemetery across from her boarding house reading the names on the tombstones and making up sweet stories about their lives in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Windy Poplars.
I had this romantic vision of old sadness and loss. That all ended as we stopped at the mail one day and noticed the road littered with cars. This may be an old cemetery, but it’s still in use today. The grief is fresh, and raw, and heartbreaking. I few weeks ago, I saw the signs of an impending burial. Sure enough, on the way home from church, Baby Girl and I witnessed mourners at the grave site on a gloomy Sunday afternoon.
They left behind beautiful white flowers as a token of their grief. As I drove past that week, I said a prayer for their loss. I’ve known sorrow in my lifetime and my heart went out to these unknown strangers amidst their loss.
On the way to a meeting, I noticed that the flowers had tipped over and thought how sad that their token of love and affection would be marred. A few hours later, on my way home, the flowers were still tipped over, so I turned around and drove into the cemetery to set things right. The plastic urn was no match for the size of the giant bouquet weighted down with rain, but I set it up for the time being. One little thing I could do to help another in their grief.
Then as I drove through the cemetery on my way home, I noticed pumpkins, a toy tractor, and a motorcross helmet on different headstones. Real people with real stories are buried here, and people with real grief are left behind.
When the girls were little, I used to tell Sweet Miss that sometimes it takes very little to make another person happy. Often, she would poo-poo whatever triumph Baby Girl was excited about, when sharing in that excitement would mean so much. Just as we are called to rejoice with those who rejoice, we are also called to mourn with those who mourn.
I was glad to see a woman bending over the white roses at the recent grave and setting them to rights after the windstorm last weekend. She’ll never know that I set up her flowers, but it’s my little way to help lighten the load.
Life is filled with sorrow; I think we should do what we can to make it better for those around us.