This May, my family and I decided to restore the community cemetery. The cemetery had been severally neglected by the community and the condition of the cemetery was embarrassing. There were overgrown trees, bushes and grass, and even some trash. Many graves were inaccessible to family members because of the overgrowth. It was very sad to see our past church members’ memories forgotten.
So as a family we decided that we would get up and do something about it. For the entire month of May, we volunteered for four hours every Friday and Saturday to clean the cemetery. Restoring the cemetery required plenty of back breaking labor and the summer weather only made the work more physically demanding.
To begin restoring the cemetery, we first cleared the young trees that had started to grow in the middle of the cemetery. Some of the trees were up to two inches thick and we had to use hand saws and branch cutters to remove them. Once the trees were cleared, we mowed the tall grass. With plant life taken care of, we put the flowers and other markings that family members had left at the graves back in place. It took us several weeks to get to this point, but now we just have to mow the grass on a regular basis and maintain the cleanliness of the grounds.
Cleaning the cemetery was very grueling work, but the satisfaction of seeing all of our hard work pay off is far more rewarding. Getting up in the morning as a family and doing something positive is a wholesome feeling. To see our loved ones’ graves cared for makes the hard work worth it. Even more rewarding is the look on other families’ faces when they thank us for cleaning their loved one’s grave. No amount of money could add up to that experience.
As a family, we look forward to coming back to the cemetery next summer and every summer after that.
Take action in your community by forming a team and cleaning up a local cemetery, park or school. Get started with one of our toolkits or find an existing project by searching keyword: “clean up” or “restoration.”