When I grew up we owned a blue picnic jug that had a special purpose. Perfect for holding mom’s batches of whipped up Kool-Aid that quenched our thirst. Whether my brother and I played happily at Eagle Creek in Estacada or paddling our boat down the narrow waterways in Westmoreland park, okay more like bailing water out of our boat. Not only did the little blue plastic jug travel in a car full of giggles during our joyful excursions, it never failed to be by our side when we visited the Spring Water Cemetery, our family’s final resting spot.
Loading up this faithful jug along side a bucket full of fresh cut flowers from our garden we would make our annual visit; winding around country roads to this discrete location. Wild strawberries bloomed under our feet as we placed flowers on the graves of our loved ones. The little significant jug poured water into vessels allowing the cut flowers to sustain their freshness a little longer. When it was not pouring water to fill, it was pouring water to clean the headstones. Each visit my dad faithfully pulled out his pocket knife from his trousers bending down to remove moss from the inscription crevasses of their second son Brent’s gravestone. Mom and dad side by side as she lovingly washed the grime and moss away that dad had unloosened, intermittently wiping the tears from her eyes.
Year after year the jug trekked with us to pay our respects, the years increasing as our losses did. One by one grieving the loss of our grandma, grandpa, father and most recently our mother.
Now I carry the jug to the grave site becoming what my friend calls a generational daughter. Grabbing hold of a Jug shaped baton pasted down from my mother. A juggernaut of legacy with her profound statement she embraced later in life still lingering in my mind: “Lisa”, she said ” we know they are no longer here, only their shell remains.” At that stage in her life she was perfectly content to not going to the cemetery any longer, she knew they were in the glorious presence of the Lord and that was all that mattered.
Though I am comforted by this truth, I still choose to visit my families generational grave sites; carrying that faithful jug that has seen my family in good times and sad… mindful of of Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads”.
Lord , thank you that your word says* “Precious (important and no light matter in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (His loving ones.) Everyday may I live in all life’s moments being present in the gift of today, ** Teaching me to number my days so I may apply my heart to wisdom.