Lena took us over to the Cemetery today. It was a cultural experience I will not soon forget.
Lena asked me not to bring my camera and I am glad that I didn't. It would have been disrespectful. There were thousands of people going to and from the cemetery in town. There is only one that is still open in Krasnodar.
At the cemetery:
people were cleaning graves
eating, drinking and toasting with family and friends
laying flowers on the graves
many of the graves had full body pictures of the deceased on the head stone.
children and old people were begging for money
bands were playing and had hats or boxes out for people to put in money
many of the graves had a picnic table and bench for people to sit at and eat
a band was playing "strangers in the night"
a grave of a child had a fence around it that was shaped like a train
some graves were overgrown and abandoned
others were filled with so many flowers you could not see the name on the headstone.
We walked through the cemetery just looking and observing for over an hour. We found the grave of a woman that no one had attended to and layed four tulips on it. Flowers are given in even numbers for death.
We chose a woman's grave to honor because I found out earlier today that a friend of mine from highschool had passed away three weeks ago. I don't know any other way to honor Margaret than to be the kind of person she was. She was giving. She was caring. She took in anyone who needed a home. She was there for me when my brother passed away. She was there when my grandmother and mother were in the hospital. Here is her notice from the Wichita Eagle newspaper. Our trip to the cemetery was more than just a field trip it gave me a chance to pray for Margaret's family and to remember her.
Margaret A. Bufford
Bufford, Margaret A., age 43, former MCI manager, passed away Tuesday, April 11, 2006. Service 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 15, St. Mark United Methodist Church. Survivors: husband, Tilton McFerren; sons, Harold DeWayne Butler, Samuel Cornell Norwood, Christian James McFerren; daughter, Bernadean Norwood; mother, Birda Mae Bufford; brothers, Warren Bufford, Norvell Bufford, Jr., Mark Bufford; sisters, Paula Bufford, Bernadean Jackson, Edith "Dee" Graham, all of Wichita; grandmother, Margaret Norwood of Crescent, Okla.; one grandchild. Services entrusted to Jackson Mortuary. Published in the Wichita Eagle on 4/14/2006.