We've "visited" great grandmother and great grandfather at the cemetery today. Sunflowers was my grandfathers favorite flower - he used to scatter sunflower seeds around where the vegetable garden used to be... he didn't have the health or energy to grow as much potatoes as he used to for the last few years. So sunflowers it was. He fed the birds through winter and then enjoyed his sunflower forest in the summer. So whenever I see a sunflower I think of him, and of all the memories and good times we spent together.
We're not at the cemetery very often. And I know why. I really think it is a strange and unfamiliar way (to me anyway) to remember and honor deceased friends and family. The funeral was even more estranged to me. It felt as it had nothing at all to do with my grandfather or grandmother. I couldn't see them anywhere - I could not see anything in the ceremony that reminded me of them, remembered them or respected them as the people they where. Nothing. It was all so cold, unfamiliar... Lots and lots of words without meaning and feeling, lots of memorized phrases of courtesy.
They were not Christians. We're not Christians. Still, we had a Christian (protestant) funeral. Because that's what you do. I don't understand that. Really don't. So I'm writing my will and testament to prevent this from happening to me (and my family) when I'm passing over. It's disrespectful, cold and not made for people in loss and mourning. Or people in general. Period.
But we still visit this place from time to time. And although our 4 year old doesn't understand the concept of death and dying, the visits gives us opportunities to remember and talk about her great grandparents. But as pagans we have other ways of honoring them - ways that feel much more in tune with who we are, who they were and the relationship we had. Ways that still connect us instead of bringing us further apart.
I'll write more about that later.