When I was making lunch plans with a friend last week, she said she couldn’t meet Tuesday because it was her late husband’s birthday and she was going to visit him at his grave.

I was touched because she said “visit him at his grave.”  I know this is a pilgrimage she makes on their anniversary, her children’s birthdays, and other special family occasions.

I also know it brings her enormous comfort because her husband is buried in Shalom Memorial Park in Arlington Heights, IL, where benches are placed strategically throughout the grounds, often beneath trees. The cemetery also provides tasteful holders for fresh flowers. The graves are marked by uniform flat plaques and it’s a peacefully landscaped garden to sit in to remember good times.

I know, because I’ve done it too.

But more importantly, because cemeteries are large spaces and most sections look alike, it’s possible to become confused at first, and not find your family’s graves immediately. To that end, Shalom provides maps in the office marked with your locations.

When we were new to this experience, and somewhat bewildered, one man in the cemetery office got into his car and led us directly the grave. It was a very special kindness that didn’t go unnoticed.

So don’t skip a visit you really want to make because you’re afraid you’ll be lost, or won’t be comfortable there. Stop at the cemetery office and ask for assistance. Most want to provide it — but you have to tell them you need it.

Sandra Pesmen 2011

Sandra Pesmen

Sandra Pesmen, host of www.widowslist.com, 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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