I love walking through graveyards, cemeteries, whatever you want to call them. I like looking at old headstones, newer ones that are creatively inscribed, family plots. I'm not sure what this says about me.
One of my favorite cemeteries is in Hartford, Connecticut; it contains lots of fascinating markers with Death's head, and many of them give a much more detailed history of the life of the person buried there than their modern counterparts. They also tend to provide the cause of death: "Lost at Sea," or "Taken by Consumption." I like stories, and it's easier to imagine someone's story if their grave fills in a couple blanks.
I think another reason I like walking through graveyards is because there's very little creepiness for me. The thought of a person's earthly body after death and their immortal soul are so divorced in my mind that I don't think of the deceased loved one as actually being in that grave in any way. The grave stone is simply a memorial and a way for those left behind to remember the family member or friend.
Our family has spent most of the past week down at my mom's house in southern Kansas. She and her friend Debby walk just about every day, often through one of the prettier cemeteries in my hometown. I accompanied them one morning a few days ago. They obviously spend a lot of time there; they knew right where all our old friends are buried and gave me a thorough tour.
If you don't enjoy interesting headstones, cemeteries, or I've already offended you in some way, you should probably stop reading now. Fair warning.
One of our first stops was to see Teresa. Hi, Teresa!
There were a bunch of Civil War veterans' headstones all in a row, which are always interesting.
This one was a husband and wife headstone with a picturesque engraving of a farm. The husband's side reads, "Stranger to No One, Friend to All," and the wife's, "Always a Giver, Never a Taker." What a beautiful epitaph.
A playful statue of a boy and girl on a teeter totter drew me toward this family plot. I still think it's lovely, even if the fact that this family lost three small children in just a few years is rather sobering.
We also made sure to visit the graves of Barack Obama's maternal grandparents. I'm pretty sure this means me and Mr. President are practically related.
That's right, when my mom asked if I wanted my picture taken with them, my answer was, "Um, YES." There was a single red rose in front of each grave. Maybe I just missed the president.
After looking at all those graves, I've pretty much decided that I want a small, simple headstone, with a large bed of flowers planted right on top of the length of my body, like I saw at one grave. I like to think I'd make pretty good flower food.
It's never too early to start planning, right?