Mandan News

Finding a symbolic memorial in memories

Observations of a News Editor
By Dustin White

Over Memorial Day, I had gotten the chance to visit the grave of my grandfather. Since being back in the area, it was the first time that I drove out to Mandan Union Cemetery, where he was buried in 1998. During the decade and a half that he has been gone, I have found few chances to visit his grave.

It’s not that I don’t miss him. When he died, it was a time that could be considered Earth shattering. Today, it still has an effect on me; however, not in the same way.

As the years have progressed, I’ve come to see his death in a different manner. Instead of a devastating event, it is something that has more meaning. His life itself has become a memorial, one that can be honored every day.

When my grandfather died though, I was still just a little boy. His death was the first one that touched me directly. It was an event that I was not prepared to deal with, as is often the case.

Not being prepared meant that it would take me years to fully come to terms with the death of my grandfather. Years after he passed away, just hearing songs that I associated with his funeral would nearly break me down.

Yet, times change, people evolve, and hopefully we learn how to finally deal with those times of suffering. For me, it was finding a meaning in the death of my grandfather, or in particular, focusing on his life.

I believe that is the really the key; finding a meaning in our suffering, regardless what the cause of our suffering is. It is easy to see just the bad, but moving beyond that, and finding some sort of meaning can really help make sense of what has happened.

In regards to my grandfather, I had to focus on what really was more impactful, which was his life. While he was living, the lessons he taught me he taught me had a larger effect on me than him dying. Because in those lessons, ones that I hope to pass onto my son, my grandfather will continue to live on in a way.

While my grandfather is no longer physically here with me, his memory is. More importantly though, the life he lived had a meaning in it that I can continue to find value in.

The place where he was buried then has lost much of its meaning for me. While it serves as a physical memorial to the man who he was, it doesn’t signify the symbolic memorial of the who he is to me.

Nevertheless, it was nice to pay my respects, by visiting the grave of a man who had such a profound impact on me at a young age.