Cemeteries are defined as places in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried.; Cemeteries are Much More.; Cemeteries are Places of Connection…; As I strolled through the cemetery, I met a young woman and her great aunts who were looking for the grave of a loved one. After helping them to find the location, they plopped down on the ground and started sharing. As they shared, they hugged, laughed, and cried. As they paid respect to a woman that had made a difference in each of their lives, a gap was bridged that had separated these women for years. Soulful rich reunions take place in cemeteries.; A few weeks ago, I stopped to watch a handsome young soldier having his picture taken while standing at a grave. He stood tall and brave but tears rolled down his face. I thanked the soldier for his service to our country. He stood atop his grandfathers’ grave – a grandfather who had also given his life for his country many years before. This was his grandfather’s birthday. He must have been looking down as his daughter proudly snapped the photo where her brave men were united.; Cemeteries are Places of Healing…; In the days following a funeral, family members and friends stop to visit the grave of their loved one. Cemeteries are a peaceful place where survivors can come to connect with their loss. By talking, praying, or just cleaning around the grave, they work through their individual grief.; The process of grief is the process of healing. Our tears water seeds of hope and life after our loss. To disallow our grief is like ignoring an angry infected sore and expecting it to disappear. It doesn’t.; During the five stages of grief experienced by most of us after the death of a loved one, cemeteries provide a safe and quiet environment for which to express these feelings. Grief expressed is grief diminished.; After a funeral, we often see the husband, wife, mother, or father, visit the gravesite daily. Eventually, the daily visits become weekly, then monthly until we see them only during special holidays or anniversaries. Survivors eventually learn to move on – not forgetting, but accepting… that which cannot be changed.; Cemeteries are Places of Honor…; Visit an American cemetery on Memorial Day and your patriotic spirit will soar. Here you will find Veterans of all service branches commemorating their comrades and honoring their fellow soldiers. Flags are proudly placed on the grave of every veteran buried. Parades, Honor Guards, Color Guards, and Taps pay homage to the men and women that fought to preserve the land we love.; Throughout the rolling hills of most cemeteries, personal expressions of love and honor decorate the graves. Lanterns, plants, photographs, lights, ornaments, decorations, and flowers cover graves conveying love and grief for a life once shared. Tokens of respect and appreciation such as trees, cards, wreaths, baskets, eggs and angels are left at gravesites during the holidays.; In southern cemeteries, cars full of family members – grandparents, parents, children, and extended family come to honor their roots. The families band together to tidy the grave, polish the stone, place memorial flowers. The deep importance of ritual and tradition expressed here would fill any heart with love. How grand to see parents and grandparents teaching their young honor and respect for their heritage.; Cemeteries are Places of History & Heritage…; The culture of a community is expressed through the gardens and memorials in a cemetery. Gardens depict the members of the community and its loves. Touching epitaphs open the history book of lives that passed where we now walk. Dates open our eyes to the omnipotence of God as we uncover children who lived only a few years when others lived one hundred. Stories of the area are displayed here as religion, culture, and customs intertwine in these scrapbooks of life.; Cemeteries are Places of Inspiration…; Walking through a cemetery is like walking down Lovers Lane. Verses of tenderness, beauty, and devotion live on etched in granite, marble and bronze. Here we find faith, anticipation for heaven, and acceptance for what is to come.; Walking through a cemetery is inspiring and encouraging.; Cemeteries are Places of Peace…; Death has a way of helping us to appreciate the value of life. As I walk through the gardens and ponder the memorials of those buried within, I am reminded that this life is not forever. This life is a gift. One to be valued, savored, and lived with purpose. Cemeteries are full of the miracle of life. Calming lakes, rolling hills, the menageries nature settle the mind and calm the soul. Leaving, we promise ourselves to be better – better in our relationships, better at loving, better at giving thanks.; Cemeteries are defined as places in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried.; Cemeteries are much more.