Monday, May 28, 2012

Life is a Gift

To celebrate memorial day we took our Utah children and grandchildren to my father's grave and to Mr. J's parent's graves. We put flowers on the tombstones and talked about memories we had of our parents. It was a wonderful experience, but there was one thing that happened that has left me wallowing in a sense of my own mortality.

I grew up across the street from the Centerville City Cemetery--a beautiful cemetery sitting on the side of the mountain overlooking the Great Salt Lake. I spent hours and hours in that park as a child playing and reading tombstones and wondering about the lives of the peole buried there. I never knew the people but learned their names and which tombstones belonged to whom and being endowed with a marvelous imagination many of those people "came to life" in my mind. I know it sounds crazy, but I gave many of them a story and often talked to them about their lives and mine.

Well, I haven't been back to the cemetery since Dad died five years ago, and that was in January when it was too cold and snow covered to walk around and find all my old "friends."  But yesterday I did walk around and was shocked how much it has changed and how many new graves have filled the place. But most shocking was the fact that almost every tombstone I read was someone I had known. These were no longer strangers I imagined to be friends, these were my friends! Memories sprang to life of times I'd spent with the person--Church leaders, Young Women leaders, friends' parents, some were even friends!, and then there were school teachers and shopkeepers and people I had interacted with at various times in my life. It was, to say the least, sobering.

So today I am filled with a deep sense of my own mortality and have decided that while Memorial Day is a wonderful day to remember those who have passed on, it is also a wonderful day to celebrate the fact that we are still here. As a matter of fact, perhaps the very best way to honor those who have gone on is to honor the life itself. So drink in this day, appreciate every thing you see and hear, and savor every wonderful moment. Life is a gift to be cherished!

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