Tuesday, May 07, 2013

"The Grave is Eloquent"

That was something that I recently saw on a nineteenth century grave marker in Leominster, MA.  The grave marker commemorates the death, in 1836, of a 4-year old girl named Susan.  The marker doesn't tell much of Susan, just the date and that her family felt compelled to inscribe her stone with "The grave is eloquent."

"The grave is eloquent."

Were they devastated by her death, and saw the hopeless silence of the earth the telling state?

Was she the victim of lingering pain, and the grave the peace she was released to?

Were they Christian, and saw the expressed hope of Christ's empty tomb as their prayer for reunion at the resurrection?

"The grave is eloquent."

We don't know much about Susan, just her age at passing, where she was interred and that someone thought that more than just the dates were called for, but chose to ponder other than her brief life here.

"The grave is eloquent."

This is what Susan's family, those responsible for her in death, as in life, felt was right. 

Right for her. 

Right for them.

Today, there is controversy over the burial of a 21st century person.  One Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

There were protests outside the funeral home that accepted Tsarnaev as soon as the location was made public.

Calls for burning the ashes and spreading them randomly.

Calls for burial at sea.

Statements from civic leaders that he should not be buried "here," for almost any value of "here" in the U.S.

The funeral director has inquired all across the country, but the answer is always "not here."

Very little thought is given to what would feel right for the family. 

Those who knew the little boy Tamerlan when he was aged four years. 

Who saw him grow. 

Who sent him to school. 

Who took him to worship.

Who saw the evidence of his crime, and the evidence of his death, on television.

I have always been an American.  Usually I've been proud of that.  Not always, but usually.

This is not a time I'm altogether proud of my nation.

I'm ashamed that both the candidates for U.S. Senate for Massachusetts have said "Not here" instead of  "we grieve with all the families."

This isn't about scoring points in some game of pandering to the bigotry of hate.

Funerals aren't really for the dead, they're for the living.  Those left behind.

We need to have compassion for those families who have lost.

All the families. For all the victims.

Compassion, and mercy, are not weakness, but strength.

The mother of this boy thinks she may want to take the boy back to Russia, where he grew up.  His uncle thinks that he should be buried here, as Tamerlan Tsarnaev made the Unites States his home for 10 years.

By the time you read this, the decision may have been made, and the body interred.

But where, and how, will be a telling sign for us all, as a nation.

A sign of our strength, our compassion, our mercy.

"The grave is eloquent"

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