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A Simple Thank You

I recently presided over my 50th burial since I joined the Foxfield Preserve. That wouldn’t seem like much to someone who runs a conventional cemetery – they could probably see that many services in a couple of months. But since our cemetery is so new, the majority of our sales are to people who are making their arrangements in advance.

Short_openHonestly, I prefer it this way. I have worked here for 4 years and have only just completed my 50th burial. Because of this I have clear memories of moments from every single one of those services. I am still able to remember the stories that people share with me as they make their arrangements – they paint me pictures of those they’ve lost. Because of this I can look through the prairie grasses and know that she was an avid gardener and chose that spot so she could be near the prairie cone flowers, or that the couple buried beneath that tree split the sandstone stoop of the farmhouse they lived in to make their stone markers.

It is hard to describe what it means to me to be able to carry these small details with me as I walk among the prairie grasses. How deeply it touches me to remember the heart-breaking, uplifting, funny and melancholy moments that I have been permitted to stand witness to at those 50 burials.

Without fail, at each of those Short_closedservices,someone has approached to thank me. And in spite  of standing quietly by for 50 burials, I have not been able to find a response that seems to communicate how that makes me feel. It humbles me. I wish I could clearly state how honored I am to serve them. I don’t know how to put my gratitude into words – for their gesture in giving the body of this person they loved back to the earth, and giving generously back to the community at the same time. Gratitude for sharing their beautiful, intimate moment of farewell with me; poignant lessons and reminders that I hope to carry with me through my life. Each of these moments, these 50 simple thank yous, overflow my heart. All I can give in response is my own simple, heartfelt thanks.