Saturday, January 20, 2007

Visiting a grave

A few days ago, I went to the cemetery to visit my grandmother's grave. It has been a month since she died. I had brought a small stone to leave at the graveside, which was hard to find because of the snow that fell a week ago.

I was nervous that I would have a hard time finding the grave. I remembered the lot number, lot #167 in Gan M'nucha section, south east corner, but I really didn't feel like stopping at the office and asking them for help. So I decided to give it a try by myself.

There was a funeral in progress not more than a hundred yards away which made me feel weird, like I was intruding on someone else's sorrow. I had to get out and walk quite a distance because the cars from the funeral were blocking the way.

The air was crisp. It was cold and the ground was covered with a thin layer of snow. You could make out footprints on the snow where people had come to visit other graves. I tried to find some way to walk across the cemetery without stepping on people's graves; it felt disrespectful, as if I were profaning the sanctity of the place.

I had little trouble finding the grave. I found the lot marker to confirm I was in the right spot - miraculously, it was exposed. The cemetery put a little nameplate at the head of the grave with my grandmother's name. I wiped the snow away from the nameplate and placed a small rock next to it.

I looked down at the grave and took a deep breath. The mound of dirt was frozen and covered with snow, and it somehow felt different from when I saw it last at the burial. It no longer looked new; it looked dirty and undignified. It stood out from the other graves, looking very cultivated and neat with the headstones, the flowers and bushes.

I let the memories of my grandmother enter my mind. In my head I told her that I was keeping her memory alive, that I did not forget her. I promised that I would come visit her again.

Then I left.


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