Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Visiting Graves

(PICTURE: Visiting my father-in-law's family tombstones.)

During Tet we always visit the graves of Huyen's relatives. This was my third time visiting the graves and I've been touched each and every time. A few thoughts about this:
1. We visit each cemetery for five to ten minutes. This might seem like a short time but how many of us are guilty of never visiting our relatives tombs?

2. While at the cemetery, we clean the tombstones and remove weeds. In America, this is usually done by the cemetery where people are buried. In Vietnam it is the family's responsibility.

3. This is the only time I ever see Huyen pray. She isn't religious at all but merely puts her hands together, bows and says a few words to her deceased relatives. I like being there to see this.

4. Huyen's family likes when I take pictures of them at the cemetery. I learned my lesson a long time ago that Vietnamese like to have these moments of showing respect documented.

5. I'm always especially taken back when we go to the military cemetery to visit the empty grave of Huyen's uncle. Huyen's uncle was killed in the war with America and his body has never been recovered. This saddens me deeply.

(PICTURE: Visiting Huyen's uncle's grave at the military cemetery.)