Full Definition of MEMORIAL
: serving to preserve remembrance : commemorative
: of or relating to memory
Yesterday we went to the cemetery here in Ashland to visit the grave of Rob's grandfather, Elza. He passed away in 1993 and left a legacy in the TV sales and repair store that he founded, as well as a loving wife, four children and eleven grandchildren. We paused at the granite stone that reads "Dravenstott" and talked to the kids about Elza, and then we walked the shady paths for a little while, pausing to comment on a couple with 64 years of marriage, people who had lived for 94 and 95 years through the turn of the twentieth century. We marveled at the changes they must have seen, from horse-drawn carriages to the moon landing and space shuttles. Our children don't have a lot of experience with cemeteries and almost none with death and dying, so they were somewhat perturbed and had a few questions for us, varying from "is the skeleton down there?" to "how long will we live?" and "where is your stone going to be, Mom?" We talked about death as a natural process - and I emphasized to Rob that I want to be cremated, though I could really see the beauty of having a place to come and remember a loved one.
It was a wonderful opportunity to remember Elza and to wonder about the lives of others buried here in Ashland. We noted all the veterans, with their American flags flying, and thanked them for their service in the various armed forces, as we thank those who are alive today. Bill and Connie remembered other folks who were members of the church, or founding fathers of the town. It was a beautiful part of the day, and afterward we visited Rob's 87-year-old grandmother, Mae, who still lives on her own and helps out with the shop.
One of the reasons we came to Ohio at this time was Rob's vivid memory of fishing on Lake Erie with his dad and his uncles and cousins. He told the children about waking up at 4am and sleeping on the drive north to the lake, then fishing and eating throughout the morning. So he and the children are off with Bill and Ron right now, having stumbled out of bed at 4 themselves. We're hoping that a few wall-eye find their way into the boat and that we have a fish-fry for dinner tonight. In a weekend based on memory, forming new memories is a precious endeavor, a kind of experiential sharing that provides a window into the children's heritage, their communal memories.