Monday, November 16, 2015

Where Have All the Real Flowers Gone? Not to Graveyards Anymore

Willow Creek Mennonite Cemetery, © B. Radisavljevic
Willow Creek Mennonite Cemetery, © B. Radisavljevic
When I was a child there were certain holidays when my family would visit the cemetery with flowers for all our family members who rested there. They were real flowers, most from our gardens. I remember the search for the containers by the graves and putting water in them with the flowers. We lovingly left them to honor our loved ones. During my childhood, I don't think I ever saw an artificial flower on a grave.

In some cemeteries, that's about all I see anymore. I can think of many reasons why. The cemetery pictured above is an old one in rural Paso Robles. I'm guessing that many families have no surviving members in the area. I don't think I saw one real bouquet on a grave. I can't help but wonder who leaves the artificial flowers. It is those who leave the area after burying a family member they don't expect to visit again? Does the church associated with the cemetery take care of it? The church is no longer in that location. It is evident someone cares for the graves to keep them free of weeds.

Perhaps it just seems more practical these days to leave flowers that won't wilt. But the real flowers are a reminder that we all fade and die.

Lupine Fower, © B. Radisavljevic

"As for man, his days are like grass.  He flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear him..." Psalm 103: 15-17

Do you still see real flowers on graves? Why do you think artificial flowers seem to be replacing them in many cemeteries? Is it only in the West where a flower planted on a gravesite would not get water? Some cemeteries no longer allow people to plant flowers beside graves, and, sadly, potted plants are often stolen.
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