Over Memorial Day weekend, I went with my parents and kids to place flowers on the graves of my grandparents and other relatives.
My mother’s family had lived in Marion and Harrison counties in West Virginia for generations. We placed flowers on the grave of my grandmother’s brother in a small family cemetery that’s now at the edge of a housing development. The land of the development once was a farm that my grandmother’s family worked. Her brother wanted to be buried in that cemetery because he and my grandmother enjoyed playing there when they were children.
It seemed odd to find a cemetery among all these new houses, but I could tell it was taken care of, so at least the graves aren’t neglected.
Next, we stopped at the large cemetery in Shinnston. My grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great grandparents on both sides of my mom’s family are buried there.
As my kids place flowers around the graves, I wondered if my distant grandparents ever thought their great-great-great grandchildren would come to pay respects almost a hundred years after their deaths. It’s a stunning thought.
The next day, we drove into the hills above Moundsville to place flowers on the graves of my dad’s parents. Both sides of his family had lived in the northern panhandle of West Virginia for several generations. My grandfather served in the Navy during World War II.
I am so glad I got to take my kids to see our family history. I hope they can feel a connection to the relatives who came before them and the land where our family once lived.