The condo-development where my mom lives backs on to a local cemetery. In fact, this cemetery has the distinction of being one of the only cemeteries in Canada that has a highway running through it. In that small strip of highway the feverish pace of southern Ontario life connects with the stoney stillness of history and death without stopping to reflect.
A few years ago, while visiting my mom, we were feeling a little cooped up in my her house, so Rebekah and I took the kids for a walk through the cemetery.
“What are those rocks sticking out of the ground?” Sophie asked.
“Those are headstones,” I replied, “They tell us who is buried there and when they lived.”
Sophie is still trying to figure out the whole death and dying thing. She knows that my dad is in heaven, as is our dog Zooey. And she can’t figure out how people can be buried, yet still be alive in somewhere else.
But I wonder if any of us have that really figured out.
As we walked through the cemetery, we noticed how some graves were immaculately kept. The grass around the headstone was neatly trimmed, even if weeds on the pathway covered our shoes.
Some graves looked abandoned. Or forgotten. Someone whose memory has been left to whither.
Others were decorated with mementoes. Objects that meant something to the deceased. Or told a story about what that person loved to do: A nine iron. A construction helmet. And in one sad instance, a Teddy Bear. Relics of a life lived well or not so well lived; or maybe just simply lived.
I’ve been told that it’s morbid to walk through cemeteries. That it’s better to live life than to brood about death.
So maybe I’ve got a bigger...(whole thing here)