courtesy of kimberkraft
As I looked to make sure that the words were spelled correctly, and that the dates were right, I started to feel that I needed to get some flowers. I hadn’t thought about getting flowers when we first arrived, but since it was Mother’s Day, it was the right thing to do. Luckily there’s a flower shop close by. While we waited for the lady to put together a bouquet, my husband and I walked around the store. I had never been there before though I had driven by many times.
“Do you have any water?” the little man with gray hair asked me.
“No,” I said. He must have noticed that I looked lost.
“The water isn’t on in the cemetery yet. I can get you a pop can filled with water.”
“Thank you.” It was a weird feeling, being at the cemetery without my mother. My mother and father always made sure that we paid our respects and visited the cemetery every Memorial weekend. It was a family outing, the kids going with Mom and Dad and even way back, with my Grandpa and Aunt. Mom used to bring peonies from her garden for my Grandma’s grave.
After my Dad passed away, my children and I went with Mom to make sure that the gravestones were swept off and that there weren’t any mysterious critters lurking about or grass growing where it shouldn’t. I cleaned off my Grandma’s grave most of the times because she was the one I never got to meet. Like I used to do when I was small, my kids read the dates on the gravestones trying to see which were the oldest. Plus we made sure that no one ever stepped on the markers.
Mike and I went back to Mom’s gravestone. I unscrewed the bronze vase, poured in the water from the pop can, and placed the bouquet of flowers inside. Mom would have loved the sweetheart roses. I know it would be important to Mom to have flowers placed on her grave and being remembered in a respectful way since it was always something she did during her lifetime.
The next week, I had to go back to the cemetery to make sure that the vase was put back the way it should be. Even though I called the cemetery and they assured me that the workers put the vases back, I just wanted to be sure. Plus, I had a funny feeling. When we pulled up to the familiar spot, I saw that someone had thrown the dried up bouquet on the side of Mom’s grave, and the bronze vase was gone. We looked around and saw that many other vases were gone. The grave markers looked so bare because there were holes where a vase had once been. I looked around and saw all the empty spots, and it made me so sad. A place where most people come to pay their respects had been tragically dishonored.
When we got back into our car, I told my husband that I felt violated. I tried to imagine what type of person would steal from a cemetery. That sad feeling stuck with me for days even though I tried to push it away.
On Thursday, when I came downstairs for breakfast, my husband told me that there was an article in the newspaper about how lots of vases had been stolen from gravesites from three different cemeteries on the north side.
“Did you bring that paper home from work yesterday?” I asked. We only get the paper delivered to our house on Sundays.
“No,” he said. “The paper was out on the steps this morning. This is today’s paper.”
“Isn’t that weird?” I kept asking over and over again.
“Your Mom wanted you to see what was going on,” Mike said.
If you want to read the article, click here.
On Friday morning when our clock radio alarm went off, the first news story we heard was that the vases had been found in a park. I hope all the media attention scared the thieves off forever. The vases are being inspected by the police for any signs of evidence, and then will be returned to the cemeteries. You can read about it here.
I was very happy to hear that the vases were found and will be returned.
I wasn’t planning on going to the cemetery this weekend, since I was just there twice, but since it’s Memorial Day, it’s the right thing to do.