It would be nice if the grass was green, especially since the section next to it is green and sprouting new blades of grass. However, if all the grass was the same color, green or not, I supposed it wouldn’t bother me too much.
As the saying goes, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Meaning, you should be content with what you have because you will never be satisfied if you envy what other people have. Your patch of grass may not be as good as the one next to it, but if you take that new patch, you might look and realize the one you came from was actually better grass.
At a cemetery, I suppose the dead do not care what color the grass is. Green seems to be the natural desire to have. At least this is part of a western tradition that not all cultures observe.
I visited my sister’s grave today, and I was excited to see the new life of new grass sprouting from the soil as I walked from my car through the cemetery aisles. At least it was until I got to my sister’s plot, pardon the euphemism, which was bone dry, yellowed dead grass, and dirt.
It’s as if every sprinkler was spraying at an angle the stopped just before reaching Hannah’s grave as to have water on all sides but hers.
It’s a good thing that we were decorating her grave with fall colors, because that is the season of the ground outlining her designated plot of land.
It really was greener on the other side, but the reality is that at a cemetery it doesn’t matter. Green grass or not, our loved one is gone and nothing can bring them back.
My oldest son, wife, and I tended to what we could control. We washed her bench; in place of a headstone, you can get a footstone. This one is long and wide like a marbled seat you might find in a public square.
We start with water, rinsing the dirt, water spots, stains, and foliage away. We get soapy water and scrub the stone clean. We have a small windshield wiper tool to scrape the water off. We take a tooth brush and scrub all the lettering engraved on the surface. Bible verses, crosses, dates, words, and we even shine the picture of her.
We take out the old summer flowers and place in a new fall batch of decorative flowers that my wife arranges. My mom has learned that fake flowers are best, because they don’t die and can look new longer.
It’s a job no wishes they have to do, and not everyone does. However, when you lose a child, your frequency of visits to the cemetery seems to be more often.
My mom and step dad have spent the past 8 years taking care of my sister after her passing. Countless hours have been spent in this spot, many tears have been shed and there will always be more for the dry ground to soak up.
My wife and I want to clean Hannah’s bench, because it helps us grieve and feel like we get to be a part of something.
My parents were sick and we knew they wouldn’t have the energy today, of all days. I got a text later in the day that simply said, “It’s Beautiful!”
I didn’t realize that they were planning on going to the grave at all today. I’m glad we spent the time to serve them this way.
They got a moment to sit and rest, and know they will tend to the grave another day, but today it was done for them.
Today, eight years after Hannah’s passing, I find myself doing some of the same things. Preparing.
I never longed for heaven until someone I loved was there.
I am preparing for that day, every day, every moment, because time is too short; but I have hope.
“Do you know the one that conquers death,” I ask you, my reader? It is the one thing that is absolute and its uncertainty breaks our resolve at some point in life.
Decide now what you will do when tragedy strikes. Can you still follow the path Jesus laid out for us, regardless of future circumstances?
If you don’t know Jesus, email me, I would love to share my story.
I love you Hannah, you loved me well, even when I didn’t see it or didn’t know how to accept it.
-Matthew J. Diaz 11/15/2021