Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Remembering Mothers in the Cemetery

St Brigid

Sunday was Mother’s Day, a day that has been celebrated throughout the world since ancient times.  The Romans held a festival to honor Cybele, a mother goddess.  The Greeks had a celebration to honor Rhea, the mother of the gods.  And in Celtic Europe, the goddess Brigid was honored.

Julia Ward Howe
In the United States, Julia Ward Howe is credited with the first attempt to set aside an official day for mom, back in 1870 with her ‘Mother’s Day Proclamation”.    In May 1907, Anna Jarvis set out to make Mother’s Day a national holiday.  In 1914 that holiday was established as the second Sunday in May in the U.S.

Anna Jarvis
Countries throughout the world still have a day or days set aside each year to honor mothers.  Many are more religious or historically based than in the U.S.   It is said that Mother’s Day founder Anna Jarvis, who died in 1948, regretted that Mother’s Day had become a commercialized holiday instead of the reflective remembrance she had wanted.

And, Mother’s Day continues to be one of the most commercialized holidays in the U.S.  According to IBIS World Research, over $2.5 billion is spent on flowers, $1.53 billion is spent on gifts and another $68 million is spent on cards each year.

In the cemeteries too, mothers are remembered and honored in various ways and by various names.  

Some with the standard marker, some with symbols of affection, some with poems and epitaphs.  A mother who has acted as teacher, comforter, caregiver, disciplinarian and friend, who has loved her children and raised them up to let them go is one to be treasured and remembered.


She is Gone
You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back
Or you can open your eves and see all she’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she’s gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she’d want, open your eyes, love and go on.

(Read at the Queen Mother’s funeral.)

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.
                                    - Mary Frye

Those we love don’t go away,
They walk beside us every day,
Unseen, unheard, 
but always near,
Still loved, still missed 
and very dear.
      - Anonymous

Until Friday -
~ Joy

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