You know FOMO, right? Fear of Missing Out? Right now, I have DMO, or Definitely Missing Out. This past weekend was Decoration Day where my grandfather is buried. Historically, Decoration Day started after the Civil War as a way to honor the dead, and is now what we traditionally know as Memorial Day.
In the Southern Appalachians, Decoration Day is the same concept, except the dates vary, and are no longer limited to honoring the veteran dead. In the summer, in rural pockets of Appalachia and beyond, families gather to remember their ancestors at the family cemetery.
This has long been one of my favorite family traditions, which you might think is (really) weird. Gathering in a graveyard to sing songs and eat food is kind of a bizarre tradition. I love it because you get to see all your family in one place, and often its a time when stories are told that you might never have heard before.
For my family, we gather to especially remember my Pappaw Charles Hughes, a firecracker of a man, who, with his wife Atlas (her namesake may have been a man, but there's no name more fitting), raised seven children, and lived to see fourteen grandchildren born.
This was the first year I've missed a Decoration. Sometimes its just too hard to make a 7+ hour drive in 48 hours. I definitely missed out this year, and it was bittersweet. My extended family is extremely close. I hate not being able to be there for family events, but I've chosen to marry into the military, and we can't always be there for big events. This was just the first of many Decorations, Easters, Christmases and Birthdays that we'll miss.
I'm so grateful for all the Decorations I have been able to attend. This past Sunday, I was especially homesick, but thankfully have wonderful memories to tide me over. I don't know where we'll be next year, but I have high hopes that on the the second Sunday in August, I'll be standing in a little mountain cemetery surrounded by family and remembering our loved ones who have gone on to glory.