Memorial Day weekend is celebrated as the beginning of summer season. The school year is ending, the weather is getting hotter and the barbecue grills are being brought out for the first cookout of the season. This weekend people are heading to the lake, camp grounds or beach. Maybe you have a family reunion planned. It is a time for food, fun and relaxation. For others, it can be a time of sadness as we head to the cemetery to place flowers on the graves of our loved ones.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering service men and women who died while serving their country. It is a holiday that honors those who gave everything for our freedom. However, the annual tradition of decorating graves of loved ones predates the American Civil War. Even though Memorial Day honors fallen service people, it has become a time to remember all who have died.
For me, Memorial Day is an anniversary of sorts. It was Memorial Day 1986 when my husband and I began our relationship. It was my husband and his family that taught me the tradition of decorating the graves of our loved ones. Every Memorial Day we would go the cemetery and put flowers on his fathers grave. Until then, Memorial Day was a day of family gatherings and cookouts.
On Memorial Day 2005, my husband received his harvested stem cells after a week of brutal chemotherapy treatments. It was his new “birthday” as his harvested stem cells were reintroduced to his body replacing the cells that were destroyed by chemotherapy. It was a time of hope and celebration only to be shadowed by his passing two months later.
This Memorial Day weekend take time to remember your loved ones who are no longer with you. Here are a few ideas to honor them.
- If you can, visit the cemetery. If needed, clean up the grave site. Place flowers and wreaths on grave. Some have a floral blanket made. If the cemetery allows, decorate with wind chimes, or other ornaments. Just remember to follow the cemetery guidelines for leaving items on grave site.
- Attend a Memorial Day Service honoring the fallen.
- If you want to decorate more than allowed or you want something longer lasting, consider making a memorial garden in your yard.
- Share memories of your loved one with family and friends. Bring out photo albums, scrapbooks, and pictures.
- Include their favorite food in your gathering.
- Listen to their favorite music, song or a shared song.
- Write a letter, poem or post expressing your love.
- Watch home movies and videos of your loved one.
- Take a tour of the places you lived with your loved one or visit special places you shared.
- Take a moment of silence to pray, meditate or just to feel the love you shared.
Finally, make sure you take time for self care. It can be an emotional time and it is important to take care of your needs.
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Remember that you are not alone, I am here to walk along side of you.
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