Memorial Day Peace

Behind my house on the hill is a cemetery that overlooks the West Hills valley. Surprisingly, this is a place that I frequent often, particularly for my afternoon runs or early morning walks. It’s a great place to find peace and quiet, and in a city it’s challenging to find such places.

Today I walked there with the hopes of clearing my head before a busy day of tasks: working, running errands, cleaning the house, etc. It’s the weekend after Memorial Day, and it was such a pleasant surprise to see the hill alive with miniature American flags, flowers, and balloons. As I walked along the road that winds through the headstones, I paused at several of them to see the people and tried to decipher their personal stories.

Some of the people there have been buried for quite some time (they have the prime locations, naturally) while others were just buried there earlier this week. I saw the headstone of a gentleman who died at age 103! When I meander through the cemetery, I smile fondly on the sites that have loved ones buried together. “Loving husband and father” and “Together forever” are two of the most common phrases that I see, and (although it’s sad to lose loved ones) it gives me a feeling of warmth to see them side by side.

As I walked out through the open gate, I looked back up the hillside one last time. The sign at the entrance says, “All flowers will be removed the Monday after Memorial Day”. While not planned, I was happy to have seen the cemetery decorated with flowers like it is today. It made me appreciate the love that I have in my life and thankful for those that have lived before me. Finding inner peace doesn’t come easily for me, but this morning it was there as I trekked back up the hill to make a cup of coffee. Sometimes, finding this inner contentment comes at unexpected times in even more unexpected places.

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