When I was little I was taught a very important lesson: don’t take what isn’t yours. I grew up with two sisters and one brother, all of us close in age, so I’m sure in one way or another this lesson was taught to us daily. And it’s probably safe to assume your parents told you something similar at least once in your life.
We learn this lesson over and over again, day in and day out. It’s actually a law and a commandment. Thou shall not steal. One of the first things we learn as children and one of the most basic life lessons. If it’s not yours, don’t take it.
We also learn the importance of respect. That one comes when we’re a little older, but it’s reinforced just about everyday. “Respect your elders, show some respect, have you no respect?” We hear these at least weekly, or maybe we’re at the point where we’re saying it weekly, either way respect is something we’re taught young that carries on throughout our lives.
A good friend once told me “Everyone has my respect to lose.” That really stuck with me, we often hear that we’re supposed to earn someone’s respect. But when we were children we were told we should respect everyone. So, yes, everyone I met, I respect, until they do something that makes me lose that.
Two lessons that we’re all taught that somewhere along the way get lost in the shuffle.
Within the last few weeks, the Journal has received two letters to the editor regarding the theft of flowers off the grave of their loved ones. Twice this has happened. Twice someone, I can only hope it’s the same person, thought the flowers that were laid in memory of someone were more important to them than they were to the family.
And just last night, while scrolling through Facebook, a friend of mine had posted pictures of her goddaughter’s grave. Her goddaughter died when she was only 12 and her family and friends left flowers and little trinkets to remember someone taken too soon. Well those flowers and mini-statues were stolen. Right off the grave of Stephanie.
Were the people not taught these life lessons instilled in us during childhood, or do they just not care?
I spoke with one of the women who wrote a letter to the editor, and she said, just as the first letter stated, if someone thought they needed those flowers so badly, they could have just asked. The first letter, written by Mary Blauser, stated “If you wanted or needed that basket of flowers, all you had to do was ask for them and I would have given them to you.”
That is respect.
Mrs. Blauser could have ranted and raved about the person who stole the flowers, instead she took the high road.
Same with the Burns, Bifarella, Kuhn family. I spoke with Joan Burns when she dropped off her letter earlier this week. She said that she was upset when she saw the flowers off her aunt’s grave were gone. But she would have made arrangements had the person needed flowers that badly.
I hope, for the sake of those grieving and for anyone who has ever known the pain of loss, that this senseless crimes stop.
And my words to those who are stealing flowers off graves: Show some respect, and stop taking what isn’t yours!