The Memorial Day tradition on my mom's side of the family is to make floral arrangements for each of our family members in the Goleta Cemetery. My grandmother used to do it, and when she was no longer able to, my mom took over. When my brother moved to Bali and we began to admire some of their customs, we started placing incense at each grave as well. I personally love the quiet, casual way we go about it—like stopping by someone's house for a friendly visit. It's not sad or somber or serious—that wouldn't fit our family's personality or style.
We don't have a lot of family traditions, so it means a lot to me that we do have this one. I like to remember my grandparents and wonder about the other personalities who share the space with them. What were my great-grandparents and other ancestors like as individuals? What traits of theirs do I carry? I think it's important to have days like this to remember and honor our family connections.
These photos were taken by my husband in 2001, with, of all things, an old Polaroid camera. Instant gratification before digital, but a little lacking in size and quality.