Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Children and Cemeteries

            Visiting a cemetery as a child can be a very valuable experience.   I remember every year on Memorial Day or thereabouts I would accompany my mother to the cemeteries where our relatives were buried. There we would clean off the headstones, pull weeds near the graves and replace them with vases (old coffee cans) filled with flowers from our garden. While my grandmother was alive she would accompany us as well and we would take lots of flowers from her abundant garden. I particularly remember the fragrant white snow ball blossoms from my grandmother's garden.
             We have carried on this Memorial Day tradition with our own children and have for years accompanied my husband's mother to the old pioneer cemetery to decorate the graves of the relatives.  After searching for and then decorating the various graves scattered here and there we wander around reading the tombstones, reverently commenting on the names and ages of the deceased.
             When we read the tombstone of a baby, a four year-old child, a teenager or any "young" person, whether it was a recent death or from 1888,  I feel a  glimmer of the pain of those the deceased left behind.  All of us come face to face with the harsh reality that none of us are guaranteed a long life here on this earth, which is good for all of us to remember.
              I don't remember my children ever being terribly haunted or scared after visiting the cemetery on Memorial Day and I know I never was scared by it as a child.  I remember my children asking questions about why someone may have died and it did open up opportunities to talk about death, heaven and spiritual things which is always good.
              Focus on the Family has resources for teaching children about death . Check this link for a short article about how to talk to a child about death:  http://family.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/25600

No comments:

Post a Comment