Death is a part of life. No one can escape it. We are all destined to meet it in some form or fashion. There are short lives. There are long lives. There are lives that are known to many. There are lives known to very, very, very few.
The summer before college I worked at the local township's cemetery cutting the grass. It was a great job. I worked alone for hours trimming around gravestones, trees, benches, and the like. Trimming around the headstones all summer gave me enough time to become familiar with many interred beneath those stones. Some of those buried there still had family in the area to come and place flowers or mementos at the grave. I was always drawn to the older gravestones. The ones that were hard to read due to weathering. The ones that no one visited anymore. The Forgotten Ones.
Gravestones can tell you a lot about the person buried there. Obviously you can read their name, date of birth, and date of death. Sometimes there are more details added. In the family plots you could trace the lives and deaths of an entire family. Often you can tell if the person buried had served in the military at some point or another.
During our courtship and early married life, my wife and I would often travel to the local cemeteries around us and walk through them. We loved the quiet. We wondered about the lives of the people buried there. Their dreams, loves, hopes, and desires. It was a reminder of our own mortality. Sometimes we would buy some flowers on our way there and look especially for The Forgotten Ones and place a flower there for them. Maybe, some where, They will know that They were not forgotten, even if we did not know them.
Today, when we attend Mass, we as a couple and family continue to remember The Forgotten Ones. We want our children to remember it. To pass it on to their children.
No one wants to be forgotten. We may not be famous, or wealthy, or strong. We may have lived simple lives, known only to those around us. We may not have moved nations, but we may have moved Heaven and Earth for those that we loved.
To Those Who Have Been Forgotten...thank you for blazing the trail. You will not be forgotten by me and mine.