I clicked on the link and found myself staring at Nora who died in 1893; 228 virtual flowers were left for her. I clicked again. Now I was looking at pictures of a two-year old boy. I closed the page. Gosh, why am I here!
I ended up in the virtual cemetery by way of the Writers’ Almanac. I was reading the Memorial Day piece which said, “[The Memorial Day] has lately become a holiday for families to remember anyone they have lost (veteran or otherwise), to lay flowers at gravesites, and, in later years, barbecue, shop, and watch the Indianapolis 500. For those unable to travel to the graves of their loved ones, there are websites like FindAGrave.com, where one can create a cyber-monument and leave a “virtual” note or bouquet.”
This reminded me of the Chinese memorial day, which we call qing ming jie, otherwise known as the Tomb Sweeping Day. It is one of the four biggest holidays in our culture. It is always in April. This year, it fell on April 5th. Our parens are no longer in the best shape to climb the hill leading up to the cemetery. We children went to sweep the tombs this year. Our cousin said we should leave at 7 a.m. or else we’d be stuck in traffic for half a day for the 40-minute ride…
I never knew there is a virtual cemetery, nor did I accept this idea when I first heard of it. The first entry into the virtual cemetery was an eerie feeling. But now, after writing this piece, I am converted. I have not visited my grandpa and grandma for many years because they were buried in a different city. I would be happy to see them again, even if just virtually.