What Defines a Person?

Tending a grave. Thinking of what defines a person.

This time of year my mind is given to cemeteries. Yes, cemeteries. Actually not cemeteries. The cemetery. Calvary Cemetery.

A Sunday morning in October. Me, making sure the graves are all set. Yes, this is what I do. This is who I am. I am the keeper of the graves. Working alone, the pumpkins are proving to be a challenge. Finding smallish ones that don't overpower the flowers — like looking for a needle in a haystack. And as I work, I think of how everything goes back to politics, even this.

I chuckle at the thought — I'm practicing the politics of proper pumpkin placement. No one else out there as I work stealthily on a Sunday morning. Only me. And doing it with perfect alliteration besides. Love it. The cut flowers placed just so in the corner at the edge of the headstone. The potted fall flowers strategically placed as well — 3 in front, 3 in back.

(How I hate them — the harbingers of more cold and dampness and grey skies.) Finally, after a morning's worth of work, I do believe the graves are all set. All is right with the world. God smiles down on a well-tended grave. I am sure of it. And all the while I am thinking...thinking of what defines a person and how I greatly resent being defined by other people's labels or conventions.

Things that they ascribe to me that I never see in myself, that I know viscerally are just plain wrong. All but this one label resonates: I am and will forever be your loyal daughter.

Rest in peace, Pere

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