Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: To bring a little sunshine

When I was a child we lived next door to an elderly widow named Annie. On Sunday afternoons, in the spring and summer, accompanied by one of her adult children, Annie would travel out to the local Catholic cemetery in order to visit those graves in which her family members were interred. On these occasions Annie always carried with her an armful of beautiful yellow roses she had cut from the rose bushes that encircled her little red brick house. 

Being an inquisitive child, I had read about the language of flowers, and learned the yellow rose was considered to be a symbol of friendship, but also discovered that once upon a time the yellow rose was a signifier of jealousy. Those contrasting interpretations conjured up all sorts of questions in my mind about the meaning of Annie's yellow roses, so one day I screwed up the courage to ask her why she always brought yellow roses to the cemetery.

Annie told me she was not especially interested in someone else's interpretation of the meaning of her offering, so I worried I had offended her with my questions. Gently wrapping her arm around my shoulders, Annie assured me she was not vexed by such questions, and then explained that for her the yellow roses signified warmth and sunshine. Annie said she put yellow roses on the graves of those she loved because they could no longer see the sun or feel the warmth of sunshine on their faces. This seemed to me to be a deeply loving gesture.

Annie's act of bringing warmth and sunshine to a place of sadness made quite an impression on me when I was a child, and I never forgot it. These days, inspired by the memory of Annie, when I visit the graves of family members and friends, I always bring a few yellow roses or flowers to deliver a little sunshine. This past Sunday I visited some of my family's graves in Dublin, with yellow roses in tow.

The weather has wreaked havoc on the inscription on the stone over the grave of
my paternal grandmother Anne Magee Geraghty,
her brother Michael Magee,
and my great-grandparents, Patrick Magee and Mary Dunne Magee,
Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, Ireland.
The family tomb of my paternal great-grandparents Patrick Geraghty & Margaret Toole Geraghty,
my grandfather John Geraghty,
grand-aunts Catherine & Margaret Geraghty, and grand-uncle George Geraghty
Deansgrange Cemetery, Blackrock, Ireland.
The grave of my paternal grand-aunt Mary 'Mollie' Magee Halpin,
her husband William 'Willie' Halpin,
and his parents, Robert and Kathleen Halpin.
Deansgrange Cemetery, Blackrock, Ireland.

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6 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Stephanie, thanks very much for your comment.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

      Delete
  2. Touching and thanks so much for sharing - love the photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tessa, thanks very much for your comments.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

      Delete
  3. Beautiful! My mother-in-law loved yellow roses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pauleen, thanks very much for your comment.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

      Delete

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