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My Blog

A Drive Through a Graveyard

Good morning to everyone.  I hope that your weekend went well.  Well, here it is...the first day of Fall.  This is my favorite time of the year and yet it seems that as the years have progressed, I have become so busy that I rarely have the chance to enjoy it.  I have decided that I am going to take some time out this season and look around a bit.  It was quite an eye opener for me one day about 2 years ago, when in the midst of hurrying somewhere and stepping out of the car, I stepped into a pile of autumn leaves and had to stop and try to figure out when fall came! So, this year...I am taking time to look and see, smell and feel.  I love the colors of fall and want to take it all in this year.  I might be busy...but not so busy that I cannot indulge myself in some joy!  Well, if you live in this area...Niles, Illinois, then put October 18th on your calendar.  I will be performing ghost stories at the Niles Historical Museum.  The program will begin at 2. 
I am doing a picture a day for a year...it is in a previous blog, so here is my picture of the day.  I worked on making snow people and painting them and then dressing them and finally glittering them.  They are made out of empty soda bottles.  My contribution to recycling. 
Well, for today's blog, I was thinking about a recent run through the cemetery.  I go in and out of cemetaries almost like a drive through.  Now you might think this to be a bit strange...but I am attracted to the history there.  I was driving home the other day with a friend and we were approaching one particular cemetery that is right on a main road...and yet a sort of odd one to pull in to.  She said she had always meant to stop there to look at it.  So, without any hesitation, I made a quick right into the gate entrance.  The headstones come right up to the road and without getting out of the car, you are able to read quite a bit.  I have been in this particular cemetery many times, and with each visit I find something new.  This time, we read the tombstones of a family.  There was a headstone for the mother and the father, and then 4 babies. All the babies lived only from 3 months to 2 years of age.  They all died within a certain time period between the late 1860's and mid 1870's.  There seemed to be no other children.  It really struck me to the core.  We spoke of the time frame and how it must have been some sort of epidemic. My heart cried for those parents.  To have lost so many children. The parents are buried there with them.  The stones were small and non descript.  The only way that you could tell a story was to stop and read the stones....and then wonder.  
From that site we drove along until we reached a gravesite that told a huge story of a young boy named Hank.  This young boy was struck down at an early age.  You knew from the gravesite that theis young boy was a lover of sports.  From the wooden football and the baseball that bore his numbers that were poked into the ground to the hedges that were trimmed in the shape of a baseball diamond.  Everywhere you looked there were statues of bears and cubs.  This was definitely a Chicago Bears and Cubs Fan.  One of the most unusual thing that was on this gravesite was the basket of baseballs that stood atop of three baseball bats that were poked into the ground and looked like the legs of a table.  My heart sank at the loss of this young man...and the pain that is still living on in his family and friends. 
Then in the aisle below his was the grave of a young 12 year old girl.  Angels were displaeds in every direction.  When I was young...I thought of death as something that was for the elderly...not children....but these trips through the cemetaries has truly opened my eyes.  Death arrived very early for so many in this cemetery.  Death has no particular age.  I often question the how and the why's...but I will never get that answer..at least not while I walked this earth.  What I do know is that I can feel compassion for even those I do not know.  
As we drove the rest of the way to the exit, I pointed out the wall that was now built to hold the ashes of those that have been cremated.  This resembles the vaults where bodies are held, only in miniature.  I suppose this is the newest memorials in a cemetery.  My friend and I conversed about this.  It brought back memories of an Uncle of mine.  I hadn't thought about that in years.  I remember that I was told that they had a child and the baby died at birth.  They had the cremated ashes and they were held, oddly enough, in a mason jar on a shelf in the basement.  It made me wonder where those ashes went to.  My Uncle and Aunt have passed away, even one of his sons has gone on to greener pastures. Perhaps someone gave some honor to that baby. 
Whenever I go to a cemetery, I feel as though I am giving respect to those whose gravestones I read.  I often think about those who have no headstones as I walk along rivers and open pastures. I  know that the earth carries many stories of those who have walked upon it.  Stories that were taken to the graves with them.  The history that lies beneath us.  A ghost is oftentimes imagined as a ethereal mist that floats around.  There are many beliefs when it comes to ghosts.  There are many ways in which the word ghost itself is defined...this is the definition I like to think of it as:
     the principle of life; soul; spirit.  This is what I feel when I walk through a cemetery....how about you?

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