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My sister (right) and me at our grandparents’ grave

My sister, Beverly, visited me this month and we took a trip to the town where our grandparents lived. We searched the cemetery until we found their grave sites. Grandpa died about the time I got married. Grandma died just before I gave birth to my daughter. As I was moving forward in my own life, their earthly lives were ending. So the generations go. Walter and Edith Inskeep adopted our mother as a small child. They provided a loving and secure upbringing for her; and they gave my sister and me unmatched affection as the grandparents of our youth.

For Beverly and me, finding our grandparents’ graves and their tiny, now-rundown house, was a pilgrimage. These humble, hard-working, faithful people poured unconditional love and encouragement into our early lives. Since Mother was raised an only child then died quite young (in 1977), we lost contact with the extended family of Inskeeps.

Maybe that’s why it meant so much to see that someone, after all these years, had placed flowers on their graves.

Every Inskeep grave we found had flowers. Seeing those flowers after almost 40 years, did something for my heart. Those flowers made me feel:

  • Comforted. When I am too far away to show honor to the memory of those who loved and prayed for and cared for me, someone nearby is doing just that.
  • Connected, somehow, with the living as well as the dead.
  • Concrete Immediacy. I cherish the memories and the photos of long-ago departed, dear loved ones; but the memories grow more and more distant and far away. Those flowers carefully placed by human hands at the graveside gave me a sense of Now.

I wished for a way to say thank-you to the anonymous flower tender. I pray that every time the anonymous person tends those flowers, God will fill their heart with hope and a sense of the eternal now and eternal connectedness for honoring the memory of such good people.

~Catherine Lawton