I know it might sound crazy, but going to the cemetery as a child was one of my favorite things to do. My dad would load us all in the car and we would drive 2 hours every Memorial Day and put flowers on all my family members tombstones. I loved running to each one and learning about every person…”Erica, did you know your great grandma Sarah died with a full head of black hair?” Story after story of fun facts about my family, would fill my ears and my heart. I would leave with such a confidence and appreciation of who I was.
And to this day, we still try to go every year and carry on that tradition that my dad left. Only now when I leave, I have a deeper understanding of what death really means. Running from grave to grave was fun as a child because there was no heart attachment. I didn’t personally know those people. But now, new names have been added to my family’s tombstones. Names that at one point in time, my world revolved around. They were my heroes. They spoke life into me, they helped me become who I am today. They lived Jesus in front of me. Tears fill my eyes as memories flood my brain, while reminiscing about my people. I can’t bring them back, but I can tell my kids about my heroes and maybe just maybe I might be one of those heroes in my kids eyes one day.
As we celebrate Memorial Day, let’s remember to honor the incredible people that have died so that we could live. But most importantly let’s always remember to be cognizant that no matter how young or how old we are, we can make a difference in someone’s life. When someone visits your tombstone one day, what will they say?