A Day at the Cemetery


Last week it would have been my grandmother’s birthday. It’s hard to believe she’s already been gone for close to 14 years. My mom faithfully visits her grave every year on two occasions—my grandmother’s birthday and Mother’ Day.

“Can I come with you?” I asked, surprised at my own question.

“What are you going to do with Lil’ Lew?” my mom asked naively.

“Well, why can’t I bring him with me? He’ll be good.”

“Uh, okay.”

Truth be told. I don’t really like cemeteries. In the past, I never really offered to go, mostly because I’d prefer to remember my deceased relatives the way they were before they died. Going to a cemetery simply reminded me of the stark reality—I was visiting a cold, spiritless corpse buried in a box under the ground.

Upon entering the cemetery, my mom immediately set out to find my grandparents’ gravesite so she could arrange the flowers she bought by my grandmother’s stone. I quickly looked around and realized we were the only ones there, except for one woman off in a distance. Surprisingly, the cemetery looked radiant as the evening sun shimmered over the rolling hills. Hundreds of American Flags waved majestically in the wind, showcasing all of the many heroes that served our country.

“Mom, I’m going to take Lil’ Lewie out of his stroller,” I called out. “He won’t bother anyone. There really isn’t anyone here.”

I released Lil’ Lewie from the straps of the stroller and let him walk around at will. He certainly didn’t understand the meaning of the place, so to him, it was just a new location to discover. There weren’t any swings or slides, but there were flags, flowers, stuffed animals, and other trinkets decorating each of the graves.

His first instinct was to run. He trotted across graves, between them, and around trees and monuments. His laughter echoed in a distance, and I suddenly realized that I needed to keep up my pace to stay with him. (I wanted to make sure he didn’t remove anything from the gravesites.)

As he continued his exploration, he suddenly stopped as if he had found an “X” to a buried treasure chest.

“What is it Lewie?” I asked, now having fully caught up to him.

There, next to someone’s grave, were two red, white, and blue pinwheels that someone had used as decorations for the July 4th holiday. My first instinct was to tell him not to touch. After all, they weren’t his, but then I thought about it. Who did the pinwheels belong to anyways? Once we’re gone, we rid ourselves of all earthly possessions. It’s the living that holds onto these possessions as if they define our very core.

I watched Lil’ Lewie closely. He wasn’t trying to pick up or take the pinwheels; he just wanted to twirl them with his finger. He twirled and twirled until he realized that a good gust of wind could twirl them as well.

“Aren’t they pretty?” I asked Lil’ Lewie.

He shook his head and squealed in agreement.

After my mom was done tidying up the grave, we placed Lil’ Lewie back into his stroller and took a 20 minute walk around the circumference of the cemetery. There were small trees planted everywhere with plaques to commemorate loved ones. In these trees, people had placed angels, ribbons, and even chimes—one of Lewie’s favorite sounds. I positioned him so that he could reach a few of the chimes, and with glee, he rung them over and over again. I couldn’t believe how much fun he was having.

As the end of our walk drew near, I suddenly spotted a deer out of my peripheral vision grazing in a distance. I pointed to it to show my mom and Lil’Lewie. Seeing me point, its ears immediately perked up and its head stood high.

“Mom,” I asked, “didn’t Grandma love deer?”

“Yes she did,” she answered faintly.

For a full minute, the doe and I met each other’s gaze. Was it a sign from above? Was it a sign from my grandmother? It could be anyone’s guess. All I know is that Lil’ Lewie brought a glimmer of happiness and sunshine to a place that I once viewed as somber and dark.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Ok...I am disliking blogger this morning. I have tried to comment twice now so if you get three responses you know why lol

    I just wanted to let you know that this brought tears to my eyes.

    My nana was a very special person to me. She was so warm and nurturing and gave me a huge love for all things in the kitchen!

    Her gave was the only one I have ever visited in the cemetery and my girls and I have planted her flowers, it was a very special moment for us as well. :)


I love to read your comments. Please feel free to share.