Saturday, April 12, 2014
G is for Grave Stones
It was a mellow spring day, blue skies, just the right amount of heat, soft white clouds and the wonderful smell of moist dirt after a long, frozen, winter. I quietly threaded my way around the grave stones, admiring the old wrought iron fence that protected the perimeters of this cemetery
At the back of the grave yard where periwinkle grew wild some of the head stones were so old that the writing once etched on their faces could no longer be read. But others had survived the elements and I carefully read the words that described the people buried here for eternity. "Here lies David B. Mier, loving husband and father. He will be missed" RIP 1876 - 1930 . Next to him was Shirly D, Mier, 1880 - 1928 "Sleep on, sweet mother and wife, And take thy rest, God called thee home, He thought it best.
As I continued my meanderings the epitaphs I was reading took on new meaning as the realization that when a loved one has been laid to rest it is here that we are given one final occasion to communicate to the world the significance that person held in our life.
Epitaphs take on many forms and are derived from many sources. Bereaved family members often chose a biblical verse as an epitaph as it may exhibit some virtuous quality that was a characteristic of the decedent's life.
Some chose to write a tombstone epitaph detailing the accomplishments of the decedent's life. Maybe the person was a great doctor who selflessly gave his time tending to the sick, or one who was known for their philanthropy or community service.
Some chose a humorous verse which I found spoke volumes about the dear departed. For example, Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102, Only the good die young .
When a loved one has been laid to rest the final stage of closure involves the placement of a tombstone or grave marker identifying their grave. It is here that we are given one final occasion to communicate to the world the significance of our loved one. Don't blow it, make it count, because a hundred years from now someone like me will come tiptoeing through and wonder what the person who lies here was like and what kind of story your life had to tell.