A Visit to a Young Man's Grave

"A visit to a young man's grave" by Kathryn Swegart (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay.com (2007), CC0/PD

Seven years ago, my nephew died a tragic death at the age of 24. One bright summer’s day in a small town on the coast of Maine, my husband and I visited his grave. Situated off a country road, the cemetery sloped gently, surrounded by a pine forest. We walked up the hill, trying to remember the location of his plot. I wandered through rows lined with graves of young and old, and even a day old infant. My husband beckoned me to a row near the forest edge. I was in for a surprise.

Andrew’s gravesite had been turned into a garden. My guess is that his mother lovingly turned the soil, added fertilizer, and planted perennials. Andrew’s garden was in full bloom. I brushed my hand over the lavender and sniffed the delicate fragrance. Purple blossoms swayed in the breeze. A butterfly flitted from blossom to blossom. My husband took off his cap and we prayed a Rosary. All the while, I watched bees pollinate flowers. Life fluttered above the grave, butterflies flying and breathing God’s sweet air. Etched on Andrew’s granite stone was a poem:

To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wildflower
To hold infinity in the palm of your hand … and eternity in an hour.

We lingered at the cemetery and I recalled his graveside service. Many tears were shed that day. He was so young; life was just getting underway. I picked a rock from the garden soil and put it in my pocket, a reminder of Andrew’s short life. The butterfly flew away, high in the sky, giving me hope that his soul rested – like all of infinity – in the palm of God’s hand.

Copyright 2019 Kathryn Swegart


About Author

Kathryn Griffin Swegart and her husband raised three children on a gentleman’s farm in rural Maine. Kathryn, a professed member of the Secular Franciscan Order, is the author of Heavenly Hosts: Eucharistic Miracles for Kids and Perilous Days, both awarded the Catholic Writer's Guild Seal of Approval. Visit her website at KathrynSwegart.com.

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