Gravesite blessing

Shoots of grass are emerging here and there around the fresh burial mound. Indignant, my companion bends down to pluck away a dandelion that's growing next to the tombstone. Then she takes the cut flowers that are clutched in her hand and lays them at the base of the tombstone. She stands back up, surveys the grave with a sigh and takes my hand.

I buried her husband here six weeks ago. The tombstone had just arrived, and she wanted me to see it. Actually, she asked me to bless it. I told her, "I have no idea what it even means to bless a grave marker. But sure. Let's go and I'll think of something."

Her husband died after a long battle with leukemia. Three years earlier, on my first Sunday as the pastor of their church, he shook my hand and said he was pleased to meet the man who would do his funeral. He wasn't that old, but his face was a shade of gray I'd never seen before. So I bumped his name up on my new visitation list.


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