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Memorial Day Traditions
When I was a little girl, Memorial Day was spent driving around the city of Worcester placing cemetery baskets on the graves of my relatives. Many of these people died long before I was born so this tradition, while important to my mother and my aunt, held little meaning to me. As I grow older I find myself repeating these traditions despite the unpleasant memories they may stir. Old traditions are indeed hard to break and this is one of those traditions that nags at me and at times drags me down.
This year was no different. I had put off visiting his stone all weekend long. I filled my days with yard work, and grand babies, and everything fun. But suddenly it was 3pm on Monday and I had some time. Time to run to the local nursery and pick out a few flowers to plant. I convinced myself this time would be different and that I could go alone and be fine with planting in his memory. I shopped around and found his favorite, portulaca, the funny spiny succulent plant that blooms no matter what and are typically loaded with bright colors and happiness. I placed the plants into the trunk and drove to the cemetery.
Once there I saw a familiar figure in the distance. As I drove closer I realized that it was my sister and brother in law. How strange that of all times to go and then to see family walking near his stone. I got out of the car and my sister immediately wrapped her arms around me, embracing long and hard. We cried for a few minutes and then walked the hill holding hands and chatting. She had just stopped on her way home from her weekend of camping and still smelled of fires and all things outdoors. I loved the aroma, bringing me back to Memorial Day camp outs long ago with our kids in tow. Once at the stone I looked down and immediately spotted a four leaf clover. How strange to come across a lucky sign here.
After my sister left I thought about the serendipitous gifts I had just experienced: my sister and the clover. I realized that this was all meant to be and that some traditions are meant to bring comfort like this day did. I am not saying it is easy to visit the grave of your spouse, but when you come across loving family and pick up a four leaf clover of good luck, you realize that some things are best repeated. I picked up my garden tools, snipped off a few sprigs of mint planted last Memorial Day and went home to make his favored drink – a mojito. Cheers Dave. And here’s to tradition!