Did you know, back many years, that cemeteries were often places of celebration?
People would picnic in cemeteries, or there would be small gatherings and such.
Way back when, cemeteries weren’t just places to mourn. They were places to celebrate. And that makes sense, when you consider that one can celebrate the lives lived by so many.
Alas, over time it seems like that’s become a bad thing.
If you do anything in cemeteries now, it’s almost looked down upon. Walking through a cemetery gets you looks. People often place geocaches in or near older cemeteries. It almost feels odd, though it shouldn’t. It gives people the chance to visit these old places.
As some of you know, I’m a member of a site called Find A Grave. It’s a massive database of cemeteries, headstones and listings from around the world. Many people request photos of long-lost family members or others for research. When that happens, people can be notified and have the chance to fill some of these requests.
But the other thing about this site is it gets me out and searching around cemeteries. There is so much history in these places. However, how many people are remembered.
With faded headstones or damaged ones, sometimes you have no idea who is buried there.
One plot I found the other day had one headstone. Several other people were buried there, without stones.
So many years pass by and these people are just part of the landscape. It’s something to stop and look at these headstones and wonder about the people below them. Who were they? What did they do? What was life like for them?
And sometimes, it’s sad.
I saw the headstone of Alexander. The reason this tiny headstone caught my eye was because it had some sort of an animal carved on top. Alexander, you see, was just over a year old when he died more than 100 years ago.
He never even had the chance in this world.
What happened? Was he sick? An accident? The reality is, we likely will never know.
His plot overlooks a bustling road now. It’s on the edge of a hill, so it sits there watching over things.
It’s part of the mystery many cemeteries have. And if you can get away from vandalism (which I’ve never understood where the thrill is in tipping or breaking a headstone), cemeteries really hold many mysteries. From the people buried there to so much more. Headstones can be remarkable to look at. And, sometimes, headstones can be faded or cracked away so much that one may never know who is in that spot.
The mysteries are there to be uncovered. It’s one of the great things about sites like Find A Grave. It brings to life so many people who have been gone for so long.
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Michael D'Agostino says
My family feels obligated to go to the cemetary and mourn at least once a fortnight and I always felt insensitive for not getting the point of that. You’ve made me realise that I simply prefer to celebrate life instead.
Yeah, I don’t think I could go do that every few weeks. Cemeteries don’t always have to be mourning, that’s for sure.