As a cradle catholic I understood the feast days of All Souls and following All Saints Day. What I understood was that meant two “extra” masses in addition to Sunday mass in a short seven day week! I always assumed the extra masses were meant to keep children in line gluten with thoughts of massive amounts of candy.
When I was 20 I had the privilege of traveling to Mexico the week of Halloween and I have never enjoyed the holiday more. The people walking to the cemetery in a quiet but gay line as they talked to each other in lowered voices with smiles on their faces and bright boquets of flowers, food, trinkets, and wrapped packages for their loved ones laid to rest.
This was done in such a festive and proud way that it was easy to understand and didn’t seem at all morbid to my young mind. For that fleeting moment I felt sad that no one would ever visit me when I was gone and celebrate my life with gifts, flowers, food, and community. This feast for the dead is a very old custom or tradition in Mexico.
Maybe we could learn from this old custom to create a new tradition for Halloween.
Cemetery names are often the same as the small town the cemetery is near. Often cemeteries will have religious or saint names. Some make reference to water or flowers such Riverside or Rose Hill. Greenwood and Evergreen are very popular names for cemeteries. You would be hard pressed NOT to find an Evergreen or Greenwood Cemetery in every state of the United States.
These pictures are of one such Greenwood Cemetery. The difference is this Cemetery is on Madeline Island, Wisconsin. The Island is on Lake Superior and is beautiful. The Island has a population of 300 – 1500 depending on the time of year. I spotted this cemetery ( the only one on the island ) and wanted to take a look. I might have missed it if it had not been for the iron fence entrance. I did not enter any further than the gate which was open and welcoming, it just didn’t seem right to disturb such a small peaceful place and moment.
One of the items on my life bucket list is to travel to as many national parks as possible. I was able to travel to South Dakota where in the western part of the state are the Badlands, Black Forest, Mt. Rushmore, and Crazy Horse Monument. South Dakota didn’t disappoint as every mile of it was beautiful.
It is easy to forget when visiting any popular national park, site seeing city, or beach ,that even though it is for tourist, people live around those spots, some of them their entire lives. As we were leaving the town of Custer just past Mt. Rushmore I spotted a small quiet place off the road, a small cemetery. There were no giant statues, or handmade water features. There were, however, plenty of trees, unique and individual headstones, small winding dirt roads, flowers spotted throughout, and it was beautifully maintained. The cemetery was in a small valley off the mountain and it was a reminder that this is a community of people who live their entire lives in the midst of Mt. Rushmore and were laid to rest with much less fanfare.
While living with my Grandmother, from the age of 19 until my marriage at 25, we would have so many discussions about everything you can imagine. We would spend hours talking about family, kids, sex, marriage, childhood, mistakes, and so much more.
Many of the comments she made during our life discussions have stayed very vivid in my mind. Some of the things she said I didn’t understand completely until I was older or trying to work through one of life’s many twist.
When I saw this beautiful statue I instantly remembered something she said. “You know your body gets older with time but your mind is still remembering the seventeen year old you once were.” I can remember thinking at the time that being seventeen was a good time in her life. As I have grown older I understand so much more of what she was saying. As you grow older your body does fail you, your happy memories of your youth come to mind so much more than they used to, but keeping that seventeen year old mind and heart is what is so important.
My Grandmother passed away just a few months short of her 104th birthday. I believe she is now forever 17.
This post is in honor of her birthday, October 11.
A few months ago I published pictures I had taken at various family cemeteries and deliveries I made Memorial Day. There were some photos that needed to be shared in a post by themselves. I have written about this little cemetery in Sedgwick , Kansas before. I have someone laid there to rest and every year when I go to decorate the grave I always smile when I first drive in. Hillside Cemetery in Sedgwick is a small cemetery, very well cared for, shows the pride of the community, and its very peaceful with lots of trees and history. ( blog post – May 2, 2015 )
This year when I drove into the cemetery a lump formed in my throat. Every dirt path road had a string of US flags decorating the way. These were full sized flags on poles and it was one of the most moving and breathtaking sites I have ever seen at a cemetery. I’ve posted the pictures below, but I have to say, they just don’t do the moment justice.
I have added Floralmemorial ribbons to my shop. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month I made my first few ribbons in a hot pink color. Each memorial ribbon is 20″ in length and comes with 2 steel anchors so you can place it on the ground securely in front of a grave marker. Currently I have made red-white-blue memorial ribbons, as well as yellow and red. Check out my memorial ribbons at: