Around Memorial Day, many people go to the cemetery to spruce up their loved ones’ graves. They want visitors to see that they are nicely cared for. I don’t have to do that because I know I can trust the cemetery in Arlington Heights, IL, where our loved ones rest, to do it for me.But that doesn’t mean I have nothing else to do.

I now have established my own Memorial Day ritual. I make a trip around our home, inside and out, following a path my husband used to take each spring.  This year I saw a lightbulb outside the garage that needed changing. I noticed a new set of cracks in the driveway pavement.  I found black paint flaking off  the lamp post out front. and inside, and the rim around the kitchen sink needed new caulking. I was about to call the handyman when I realized I could do every one of those jobs myself.  So I did.

A week later, feeling pretty proud of myself, I dragged the sun umbrella and chair pillows out to our ancient wrought iron patio set, which is something else he did each year. Then I finally sat down to enjoy the beauty and smell of the two lilac bushes my husband planted for my pleasure fifty years ago.  I also noticed that his two peony bushes, one white and one red, were lush with fat buds. They should be perfect blooms in time to go to the cemetery on Memorial Day weekend.

And that’s what Memorial Day is supposed to be, isn’t it? Keeping fond memories of loved ones alive.

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Sandra Pesmen

Sandra Pesmen, host of, also writes the weekly DR.JOB column syndicated by Career News Service. A member of The Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and The University of Illinois Media Alumni Hall of Fame, Ms. Pesmen is author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide,“ and “Writing for the Media: Public Relations and the Press.” A reporter, features writer and editor, this business journalist was features editor of Crain’s Chicago Business from its inception in 1978 to 1990, when she became corporate features editor for its parent, Crain Communications Inc. She also wrote the monthly Executive Woman column in North Shore magazine in suburban Chicago for many years. Previously, she was a reporter and features writer for the Chicago Daily News.

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