From a dark and rainy morning we’ve arrived near the end of the day with blue skies and cotton candy clouds. Every year when Memorial Day arrives I seem to be automatically taken by thoughts of our deceased. Of course I think of my immediate family first and then move onto extended family, past business associates, and friends. I drove through the cemetery and stopped at some of the graves belonging to my people and paid my respects. I asked one of my older relatives if he’d like to go with me and he said, “Since it’s raining, I think I’ll just stay home and say some prayers for them.” I said, “I’m sure they’ll be just as appreciative for your sincere gesture.”
Some days ago I entered into conversation with a dear friend about how it is believed by certain circles that the more vividly we hold the deceased in our memories, the more they seem to have an affect on those of us living. It’s a sort of super-charging of their energies or spirits by those living that is beamed to the dead as life offerings. We look at most religions of the world and find statues, altars, and sites of prayer which are revered as being sacred places where the connection with the afterlife is stronger. The Temple on The Mount in Jerusalem was believed to have a well pit where only the high priests were allowed to draw close. If they were to peer over the edge into the well, another would have to hold him by his feet for fear he would be sucked into another dimension.
There would be visits to this well on rare occasions only to gain knowledge or advice regarding some greatly troubling social/religious situation. Even the American Indians had sacred sites where they would gather in prayer as well as attempt to speak to the Gods of Nature as well as their forefathers. There were a select few among the tribes who could place themselves in self-induced trances and be able to speak to their dead and gain advice on troubling matters as well.
I’m sure all of us remember some of the movies in the past where there would be someone visiting a grave in hopes to gain advice or re-connect with someone deceased. Cemeteries are actually places where families create their own sites of homage and reverence. For thousands of years people have been creating grand monuments for their dead to ensure their memories would be more pronounced with those who remained.
It causes one to wonder if people of great wealth simply create monuments as a sign of their past earthly power, or if possibly they were created to incite more memory or waking attachments to themselves in the afterlife. Think how many times people have shuttered at the thought of someone being buried in an unmarked grave, or being part of a mass execution and buried along with hundreds of nameless others.
When it comes down to it, I think we all want to be remembered in one fashion or another. I keenly remember an elderly gentleman of great wealth from years ago who once mentioned his gifting to different charities. The more he spoke about his random gifting the more curious I became. He didn’t appear happy when speaking about it, so I said to him, “Why are you so intense about your charitable contributions?” He became teary-eyed and said, “I just want to be remembered.” I believe he felt in the sunset of his life that to be remembered would be his greatest death wish. I remembered him today.