Flowers at the grave :: How offering beauty brings peace

July 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I often meet people in the cemetery I did not travel to visit, and yet I know I needed to meet them.

This woman brings flowers for her brother's grave every other week.  She is his sole living family member.  

I asked if she would be willing to talk to me about her brother and their relationship while she prepared his flowers.  I asked to take pictures and offered to share them with her.  Her smile was warm, wide, and gracious.

Her brother served in Vietnam.  He didn't want to enlist and was drafted.  Their parents were devastated when he left for basic training.  She paused thoughtfully before she shared how his journey ended.  I could tell it was a story she hadn't shared with anyone in many years.  When I asked her about that she replied that people stopped asking about her brother.  He wasn't here and hadn't been here in a long time.  

"To everyone else he is forgotten.  Not to me.  Never to me."

 

I could see her love in the way she prepared his flowers.  They were simple.  She picked them up at a grocery store on the way.  The care she invested in trimming the stems, arranging the flowers, and mixing that preservation powder stuff with the water she brought was touching.  She loves her brother.

I believe that death does not change the act of loving to the past tense.  She loved her brother on all days prior to this day.  She now loves him.  She will love him for all the days to come.  He doesn't have to be here for her to actively love him.


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