Cemeteries. Graveyards, Burial grounds, Memorials, Gardens of Remembrance.
Words that affect people in different ways. And I don’t think I’m the only person on the planet who likes walking through a graveyard. I love the silence, the serenity that comes from a place where (I hope) people are truly at peace. Every Tombstone stands as a testament to a life, sometimes lives lived. Entire generations, who probably never met whilst on their sojourn on this plane of existence, have a final rendezvous.
There’s a rather large historical cemetery quite near where I live. And it’s one of my favourite places for an afternoon walk, or as of last weekend for a photo op. The weather gods determined it was fit to allow a few hours of blissful sunlight after weeks of cranky, mouldy weather, so I grabbed my camera and sauntered off to explore a part of the cemetery I hadn’t been to before.
There’s a quaint charm to an old graveyard. You’ve got the newer sections that are relatively well maintained, parts where you have sinking headstones and cracked family vaults. And as you walk along reading names, dates and epitaphs, you could just about visualise what their lives were like. The people they loved, and left behind. Memorials to fallen soldiers, beloved aunts, the women who served during the blitz, the children who were snatched by the reaper long before their time was up.
A sane person would tell me I should be upset that life is brief. And yet, walking through the tombstones makes me feel more alive than ever. Because all around, I see a celebration of life. Of people cherished and remembered with fondness, with families ensuring their names last long after they’re gone and long after the grandchildren stop visiting. The brevity of our existence is a reminder to cherish and celebrate every second we get. We all live on borrowed time, and if we were to be told just how much time we have left, we’d do a much better job at planning it. But that’s the catch isn’t it? No one knows the magic number. And that perhaps, is for the best.
When I Think Of Death
When I think of death, and of late the idea has come with alarming frequency, I seem at peace with the idea that a day will dawn when I will no longer be among those living in this valley of strange humors.
I can accept the idea of my own demise, but I am unable to accept the death of anyone else.
I find it impossible to let a friend or relative go into that country of no return.
Disbelief becomes my close companion, and anger follows in its wake.
I answer the heroic question ‘Death, where is thy sting? ‘ with ‘ it is here in my heart and mind and memories.’
P.S: On a cheerier note, a good place for baby names, if anyone was looking…