Grave Flowers

We stood at my grandma Karen’s grave on Palm Sunday, the wind matting the grass and making all the fake grave flowers tremble. Dad brought a bundle of daffodils from Papa Larry’s garden, and as he tucked them in the granite vase, I said I hoped they wouldn’t blow away. But it’s early April and there have been rumors of tornadoes in the southern skies, so I’m sure by now they’ve met their end. Maybe the petals are gone. Maybe they’re lying strewn across someone else’s grave, and in that case, they’ll be a nice surprise while they last.

We’re always finding graveyard flowers at the church. They get blown from the Catholic cemetery and tumble across 14th Street into our parking lot. My friend used to collect them— maybe because it feels a little cruel to toss something like that into the church dumpster.

But though they blow away, we put flowers on graves anyway. Maybe it’s to honor the person. Maybe it’s to help us in our grief. Or maybe it’s to bring color and life to a place tilled by death. Maybe it’s a way we remind ourselves that this grave we stand over is not the end of the story, that daffodils can grow out of this hole, that resurrection has broken open a grave once before and that it can do it again.

I remember turning the corner at the cemetery on Easter morning last year, and there was fresh dirt mounded in the shape of a coffin, and the spring sun was rising over it, and I thought about Paul’s promise, that:

The dead in Christ will rise first.

Truth is, there were flowers on Nanny’s grave before we brought daffodils last Sunday. There were dandelions in the grass that won’t be blowing anywhere for a good while, and I should know, because the dandelions that poke up in my garden have stubborn roots. Those roots will burrow themselves into the same earth where we buried Nanny. They’ll lie there until spring comes again, and when it does — when Jesus brings with him the great dawn of the New Creation — there won’t be graves anymore, only flowers.

Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.

You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!

… In that day,

A pleasant vineyard, sing of it!”

~ Isaiah 26:19, 27:2

4 thoughts on “Grave Flowers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s