me-mo-ri-al: something, especially a structure, established to remind people of a person or event.
Our Memorial Day has been a rainy one, so I’m glad we made good use of the sunshine yesterday! After church, we packed up the children and paid a visit to a few cemeteries. Our children brought flowers to decorate the graves of several of their ancestors who they never knew. (Most of whom, WE had never met).
As we walked along the grass covered graves, we read the headstones and searched for those bearing my husband’s family name. “Here’s One!” they would yell, as if we were playing hide and go seek in the cemetery and then they would select the color they thought would represent that ancestor. (Above: Mac is placing a Red/White&Blue stem at the grave of a World War II veteran family member).
Our second son, Ben discovered the grave of his namesake, Benjamin Franklin Reed his Great Great Great Grandfather who was born in 1842. And below, Mae is standing at the gravestone of her Great Great Great Great Grandfather, Rev. Wiley B. Snell, born in the late 1700’s.
The stories my husband recounted were ones passed down by his mother and father who I’m sure heard them from their mother and father.. oral history. So much of which, we neglect to continue handing down from one generation to the next. A few of the stones had fallen from standing tall over the years. This bothered my children and they worked to try and lift them back into place.. (Jack pictured below).
Some were unmarked and no longer visible as the earth had since covered the stones. My children learned that sticks can make great shovels sometimes and though a person may have lived as a slave, their graves are of no less importance than the sleek monuments of marble standing just a few feet away.. (Below: boys working to uncover a forgotten gravestone).
Every story of our lives would be hard-pressed to document..but I wonder, which moment of your life will be the defining story passed down to your future generations? How will you be remembered? And what small words might be etched into a stone some day to tell others of who you were and how you lived? Did you love well? Let it be so…