When I was a kid, the mere mention of going to a cemetery sent a wave of fear through me. Lots of scary stories evolved from those places and I made a point to stay away.
When I was a teenager, my great aunt’s husband passed away. She told me, shortly after his death, that she would take her lawn chair to his grave and sit and talk to him. I couldn’t understand why she would do something like that. He was gone. He couldn’t hear you.
Years later, my firstborn son died. After the funeral and after the family had left, I had an extreme urge to be by his grave. Maybe to reassure myself this was not a dream, maybe to be close to him one more time. One day when I was visiting, I found myself talking to him.
It was then I began to view cemeteries differently.
As some of you know from the posts Dirt Therapy and One Day at a Time, my mom was in an accident several weeks ago and two days after the accident suffered a massive stroke. Sadly, she passed away last week. She was buried in a very old, very beautiful cemetery near the Buffalo River. The day of the funeral was cool and crisp and I couldn’t help thinking how much she enjoyed days like this.
There is peaceful, calming presence about this cemetery. It sits on a mountain surrounded by trees and wildlife. An old, small church stands in front of the cemetery and a narrow, two lane highway runs beside it.
Cemeteries are full of stories, unknown to the visitor passing by, but reflected on by the family.
As I walk through the cemetery, certain headstones catch my eye.
And how very sad to lose a child on Christmas day,
Or the loss of so many children to the smallpox outbreak
Some stories will remain a mystery,
While others express our thoughts and wishes.
Although this is a very sad time for our family, I am so thankful for all the good memories and stories we will share of my mom for years to come.