We live with hope

BY HOWARD COOP

For some, it is a place of unusual beauty, but for others of us, it is a place of unusual sorrow.

The cemetery entrance will be lined with American flags. Put in place with due honor and respect, they will be wafting in the spring breeze. Also, small flags, put in place with dignity and respect by caring individuals, will be everywhere. They, too, will be wafting in the pleasant breeze of May. Flowers, beautiful and carefully arranged, that have been put in place with love and care will be everywhere also. Yet, beyond the beauty, there are silent reminders that it is a place of sorrow. Stones, both small and large, mark the graves of those we have loved for a while and lost.

On Memorial Day, a special day observed for 149 years since it was set aside in 1868 as a day to remember those who served their country, some will go through that beautiful entrance and gather at a specified place where there will be special music and outstanding oratorical flourishes by well-known dignitaries who will remind the audience of the significance of the day. Beyond the special music and the oratorical flourishes, others, maybe all of us, will go through that beautiful entrance and, never seeing its beauty, make our way, solemnly and very slowly, through that place of sorrow to a simple stone that marks the final resting place of one that we loved for a while and lost. With an extremely heavy heart and, maybe, a tear or two in our eyes, we will stand there at the foot of that grave with our heads bowed and, for a reverential moment when we are too numb to speak, we will lovingly remember those we have loved and lost.

In that holy moment, we can remember more. On a sad day, maybe at that place, we were reminded that “the spirit has returned to God who gave it,” and we can look forward to “the life of the world to come.”  So, we live — and die — with hope.