We recently moved to a small town dotted with cemeteries dating back to well before the Civil War. Wandering through them on early-morning and late-evening walks with my dog, I often stop to read the carefully carved, worn stones. The dates — from birth to death — reveal so much. There are parents and grandparents. There are soldiers and their widows. And children — infants even. I like to say their names aloud, in some small way confirming that these people really did exist — that even though they left this world long agop, they’re still a precious part of some family’s memories.
My grandma died almost 35 years ago, and I have not been back to her grave since we buried her. I still have split-seconds of wanting to call her — maybe to tell her about the new dress I just bought or the good-looking guy I saw at the grocery store. She always wanted to know the latest piece of news, no matter how trivial. My mother says those momentary thoughts keep Grandma in my heart.
Maybe. But just as important to me now is the thought that perhaps another woman is walking with her dog through the cemetery where Grandma is buried. If so, I hope she will brush off the headstone to read the dates and to say my grandmother’s name aloud, doing her part to keep Grandma’s memory alive.
By Ellen Maio, 50 things that really matter, Rodale Press for Hallmark
Before I read Ellen’s words, I thought the little tome was about making memories. After all, once you make a memory, it’s there forever. And, Lord knows, I have included a ton of memories in my blogs — 56 times to be exact, or better than a third of the time.
After reading her thoughts, though, I had a different take. It’s all about making a difference. Most of us don’t make a big difference in the world. But we all can and do make a big difference — for good or for bad — in our own families and with our sphere of friends.
We write obituaries, bury our dead and write those inscriptions to give others a glimpse — albeit a very short one — into our lives. It’s a way to say I was here.
Ellen remembered her Grandma because she took the time to listen, “no matter how trivial.” What a great tribute.
In today’s busy society, we often don’t take the time to listen, to interact, to make memories.
This morning as I was visiting other blogs, I discovered http://thismansjourney.net/2013/03/22/weekly-image-of-life-getaway/. In short, the Island Traveler planned a mini vacation with his family that included a visit to Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, San Antonio’s Riverwalk for an overnight stay and a fun trip at Six Flags the next day. Whatever was left, they were hoping to spend it at the Tangier Outlet in San Marcos. But his son got sick and even missed his class field trip to the Houston Zoo.
With the mini vacation shortened, all plans could have been scuttled, but instead, more memories were made.
As the Island Traveler reports in his blog, “Everyday we are given chances to enjoy life. To just escape from our worries and make a quick getaway from it all. They may not last forever but it’s long enough to fill our hearts with happiness and serenity that will inspire us to face another challenge ahead.”
And everyday moments like that are what memories are made of. It’s a way to tell those wo follow us we were here … and made a difference in the lives of or families and friends.
Make memories … every day.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open.