She was driving past he cemetery outside of town. The cemetery where her parents are buried.
It had been a few years since she’d gone inside. She was in no hurry, so she drove in. She parked near where she remembered her mother and father were buried. She scanned for the India Red headstone with their name.
She wandered a while before spotting it in the distance. As she approached, she noticed the horrid condition of their site. The ground was patchy. Where there was green, it was only weeds. Unlike other plots, her parents’ had no adornments – no flowers neither real nor fake. She felt appalled at the condition. She saw other graves manicured and embellished with hanging baskets of real, live flowers. She felt ashamed for her aunts and uncles who’d left the gravesite to such neglect. She felt shame that her brother and sisters and their children held so little regard for the memory of their parents and grandparents.
She went home and searched for a place that did stone engraving. The next day she went to the shop. She selected a nice stone, not the cheapest but far from the most expensive either. She told the woman she wanted it engraved with the word, “Shame”.
She picked up the stone the next day. She drove it to the cemetery and placed it at her parents’ grave.
After that, she returned to their gravesite every few months. She returned to ensure that the stone she was so proud of – the one she’d gone out of her way to have made, the one she’d paid for – was still there.
She returned every few months. Her stone was always there. And so were the bare spots and the weeds. And there were still no flowers – neither real nor fake.
She returned every few months, very proud of her stone. Proud of herself for at least trying to shame the others into doing more to preserve the sacred memory of their family.