A Day for Remembering

In the United States today is the federal holiday called Memorial Day. When I was growing up, my mother was just as likely to call it Decoration Day. It was her day to honor the family ancestors, whether they had passed recently or decades earlier.

We visited two or three graveyards, and she knew exactly where to go at each one to find the graves of relatives. At each site she placed flowers from her garden and took a few moments for private memorialization.

We were not a military family, though both my brothers served, so Mother’s focus for Memorial Day did not have the more-common military emphasis. It was simply her day to honor all the people she had once loved who were gone from life. She spent the whole day doing it. It was part of her spiritual practice.

I believe that this honoring of loved ones who had passed was part of what made my mother compassionate and tolerant toward those still living. This alone made it a worthy practice.