Going to a funeral is not the best way to spend a day. You have just lost a friend, or loved one that as far as you are concerned was taken from you way too soon. The trauma of consoling heartbroken relatives of those who have passed can be emotionally draining. Sharing their grief can be a burden, or a godsend, depending on your own needs.
Firstly there is the service which for its part is harrowing enough. The priest or pastor residing over the ceremony is sometimes not familiar with the person whose life you’re all there to celebrate, and so can make things a bit awkward as there may be a mispronunciation of a name or place of importance.
Then the next step. The procession to the plot, should burial be chosen, for the last goodbye. As you walk through the cemetery you can’t help but look at the gravestones of all those gone before. Some dating back over a century, some as recent as last week. Some in their older years, some way too young to have gone from this world. The stones of Mothers, Fathers Brothers, Sisters and saddest of all, infants.
Then the part that everyone dreads, the lowering of the coffin, the finality of it all sets in. the realization that you will never see your friend/loved-one again, you will never be able to laugh, cry or just be crazy with that person for the rest of your life.
Once it is all over, it’s then the slow walk back to the chapel to pay your respects to all of the family members that are there waiting. As you wander through the cemetery, you start to notice that a lot of the gravestones are in very bad condition. You cannot make out the words that were once so important to loved ones, as they are covered with dirt from years of neglect a weather.
One Florida man, Andrew Lumish, noticed one day that many of the headstones at a cemetery he was visiting were in such a bad shape that he decided to do something about it. What really hit home to Andrew was that a lot of these graves belonged to veterans, and that in his words made him feel that “They were forgotten” a sentiment that he could not let slide. “If they can’t read it at all, they can’t celebrate it, they can’t honor that person, they can’t appreciate that person”. Andrew then made this his goal in life, to bring back as many headstones to their former glory as he could.
You will now find Andrew every Sunday, on his hands and knees, restoring these pieces of history, and hopefully enabling all who visit the chance to pay their respects to those who have fallen, and to those ordinary souls who have left this world for eternal peace. We could all learn a lot from Andrew and his Sunday un-selfishness.