Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Different View of Death

by Shirley Bahlmann
On Memorial Day, my husband asked if we should do our duty and visit my dad's grave. You may think I'm strange, but I've never felt a compelling need to visit the graves of loved ones. We went to Daddy Dell's grave anyway, and washed off his headstone with a water bottle and an old receipt I found on the floor of my car. (Stupid birds!)
It's possible that my non-compelling desire to visit gravesites may stem from the time I first lost someone close to me. I was thirty three, and felt pretty miserable at Grandma's funeral. She had taken me in after I had my first baby in order to watch over my infant son while I rested. (Said infant son, Andy, is in this picture with me at my dad's funeral. Needless to say, he's no longer an infant.) My sister Rebecca, seeing my sorrow at Grandma's death, said, "Hey, Shirley, isn't it nice to know that Grandma will be there to greet you when it's your turn to die?"
All at once, my view of death did a one-eighty. Having funny, loving Grandma there to help me transition into the next life brought me great comfort indeed. That was something I could live with.
I have nothing against visiting graves. I'm fine with anyone who does it. Live and let live, I say. I just have no need to go there when that's not where my loved one is. They're in a brighter, busier place, but hopefully not too busy to meet the bus when I cross over, leaving my mortal body luggage behind.


Christine Thackeray said...

I know many people that feel the way you do and that is enough but for me, I always feel closer to the person at their gravesite or in the temple. When a wave of grief hits me, I find that I can feel like they are waving at me NOW in those places and I don't have to wait until THEN.

Abel Keogh said...

I think a lot of this has to do with how a person grieves and/or wants to remember that person. I haven’t visited the grave of my late wife and daughter for many years because, like you, I figure they’re in a better place and I’ll see them again once I’m dead. Yet others who were close to them go once a year to pay their respects. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to do it. People have their own way of keeping loved ones in their hearts.