The family plot, where my Mother and Father (and other ancestors) are interred, is in the old section of the cemetery, most stones date from the early 1800's to early 1900's. So I usually never see other living people when I visit this cemetery. Once I was surprised by a walker on her daily constitutional. She quite snuck up on me and scared me to pieces.
Down the path there is a well with a hand pump where you can fill your watering can, to water the flowers you've planted on your ancestors' graves. As a child I remember learning how use this hand pump, how to prime it, and how to fill the watering can without soaking your socks and sneakers.
Things change very slowly in this part of the cemetery, subtle changes. A large tree was missing from the neighborhood, just a stump left.
One day, a year or so after my Mother died, I arrived at the family plot to see a man planting a ginkgo tree.
Isn't this something usually done by the cemetery workers?
This man had a young golden retriever dog with him, who immediately came over to me as friendly as could be. I walked the dog back over to his human.
"Hi neighbor" I said. It seemed a fitting, yet strange thing to say. Will be be eternal neighbors some day? I went over and introduced myself.
He was replacing the old tree that was destroyed by the previous winter storm.
His family plot is the one with the beautiful rose quartz headstone that I've admired since I was a kid
After a bit more conversation I went to plant the irises I brought.
The golden retriever came back and sat next to me, as I dug and planted. He let me hug him and
pet him. He sat on my father's flat stone, beside me. I couldn't plant, I just cried and cried, hugging this dog. He
put his paw on my thigh and let me weep into his soft fur. He stayed with me for a long time. I
wasn't just teary. I had those big sobs that catch in your throat. I was
My father always had golden dogs, retrievers or mutts.
This dog was being so friendly, affectionate, and comforting.
His name was Stormy.