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No regrets

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
--Sydney Harris, American journalist and author (1917-1986)

It’s a three-day weekend for most of us.
1. Leave work at work.
2. Slow down. Rethink spending the weekend devoted to the upkeep of lawn and garden, the house task list, the frantic rush to get somewhere (anywhere).
3. Pause long enough to remember the meaning of Memorial Day---paying tribute and relationships.

Memorial Day began as a time to honor fallen veterans. Today we remember any loved ones who have died.

I love walking cemeteries because it reminds me of my childhood Memorial Days when mom cut peonies and irises, put them in saved Miracle Whip jars that had been properly washed and the labels removed. Then she’d dig holes with an old butcher knife near numerous graves and leave the jars of flowers. Along the way she’d explain how the person was related and reminisce about that person.

I love walking cemeteries because I’ve done it in so many states in my genealogy hunts. It’s entertaining to imagine what life was like for those people and sometimes it’s really sad to look at graves of children buried near the parents.

Do some civil things so you can work toward ‘no regrets’

Call a relative or friend. Walk around the cemetery with a watering can and give those wilting flowers a drink on a grave of some unknown person. Write a letter. Read for pleasure. Enjoy nature. Spend time with people. Spend time alone. Connect in your mind with those who have gone, either from earth or from your life. Enjoy your three-day weekend.


I too have childhood memories associated with cemeteries. I remember picking flowers the night before and putting them in the refrigerator. Then I would go with my grandparents the next morning to place the flowers - special roses for Grandma's brother killed in the war, poppies for this person, etc. We walked the rows and I heard the stories about relatives, neighbors and friends. There was always lots of people doing the same so it became a social occasion as well as a time of remembrance. This weekend my husband and I will make the journey to cemeteries. As an adult my perspective includes not only fond memories but a reminder of how fleeting time is and the importance of living in the presence with "no regrets."

Many wonderful memories are buried in our cemeteries. The older we grow, the more memories we make - and the more memories we bury.

I also remember the days of the scrubbed Miracle Whip jars or the Folger Coffee cans wrapped in tin foil, stuffed full of soft pink and dark rose covered peonies. Many times as we decorated the graves of our family members, we would meet other folks doing the same who would know our deceased loved ones. Conversation would flow back and forth and laughter would come forth, as we stood there with tears in our eyes...remembering....I try hard to have no regrets in my daily life, but I must admit, as I stand in the cemetery I regret not spending more time, not sharing myself more, not loving more - some of those who lay beneath the ground. May the peace and the beauty of Memorial Day fall fresh on all of us.

Did you hear the Story Corps segment for this morning on NPR?