I took a trip up to Logan a few weekends ago, which in and of itself was an interesting experience. I merely want to touch on one happening.
On my way back, I took a quick detour. Just after you exit the Sardine Canyon which leads from Brigham City to Logan, there is a small sign pointing down a solitary road. Mendon. It’s a small town situated a couple of miles away from Logan proper. I haven’t spent much time there, but it seems to me to be merely a residential town, with few businesses within the limits of the town. Houses, on the other hand, are all up and down the road as it winds around the curves of the foothills. These aren’t suburban developments, though. Each home has plenty of room to breathe. It’s a quiet, still place,
I’ve only ever had one reason to visit Mendon. From time to time when my family would come up to Logan to visit my grandparents, we would stop by the Mendon cemetery so my dad could visit with his grandfather who is buried there. He would park, get out of the car and stand near the gravestone for a minute or two, pondering. Why we took these detours was beyond my childhood understanding.
I understand now. That’s why this cemetery was where I headed.
The cemetery is picturesque - I truly have never seen a more ideal location for the dead to be remembered. It sits on a hill overlooking the entire Cache Valley. The developed landscape of Logan is clearly visible in the distance, but separating the two is a vast wall of fields and farms, protecting the scenery from the encroaching buildings. Trees flank it on either side, providing shade and even more separation from the outside. The still of the town was perfect silence in the cemetery.
Whoever keeps the grounds is immaculate. The grass, though brown in. winter, was still handsome. This particular evening followed a rainy afternoon, causing the ground to be soft and moist as I stepped out of my car.
I approached the grave of my great-grandfather. Next to him was a plot of uncovered ground. There was no marker, but I knew who the plot belonged to. I was there just a few months before.
I stood there for a minute or two. I noticed some weeds in the plot and reached in to pull them out. Part of me immediately regretted that decision as the fresh mud smeared into my hands. The rest of me didn’t care, and I dug on until the plot was cleared,
I stood for a minute more. Pondering. Considering. Thinking. I surprised myself with the emotions I was feeling. They weren’t so much sadness as whatever the feeling for missing someone this point, I’ve been an emotional stoic, without the slightest hint of negative feeling showing through.
But not now. Now, I was giving myself a chance to feel all the feels. Feels which I had denied myself for one reason or other - I had work to do; I had class to study for; I had other more pressing things at hand. But here, in the quiet stillness of the cemetery with the pastoral vistas surrounding me, with no care for time or appointments or deadlines or meetings, here I no longer had any excuse not to feel all the feels.
It came over me slowly. But I felt it. Numbness became tenderness, a sort of lonely sadness mixed with hope and love.
One of the last things my dad did before he stopped working for the Church was test the Easter website for mormon.org. He was proud of his work - it was meaningful work which reached far beyond himself to help other people realize the reality of Jesus Christ, not only as a person, but as a Savior.
How fitting - Easter. Resurrection day.
It’s something which I’ve always taken for granted as a member of the Church, but others might not have the same hope: resurrection is real. Christ did in reality literally resurrect. It’s not just a figurative, spiritual resurrection. He was alive again. Which means everyone else will be alive again too.
I’ll see my dad again.