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I went there to chat with Mom or maybe, better, to talk TO her, I don’t know. I just know that sometimes when I really miss her, it just seems right somehow to visit the cemetery. She wasn’t even buried there, since she chose to be cremated with no marker for the ages. Still, it’s peaceful in the cemetery and thinking of the dead is a little more socially acceptable there.
I talked to Mom for quite a while and as I walked about aimlessly, I got a chance to meet some of her new friends. Their names were cast in stone, in the walls and in the grass.
The Jones Twins
Timothy Christopher 10-28-59 8-13-91
David Marcus 10-28-59 8-13-91
A few musical notes and a solemn “We love you” adorn the stone. Twins born, of course, on the same day and in what would seem a family tragedy, died on the same day 31 years later. They must have been very close. What tragedy befell them? Traveling on vacation together? Flying together to visit a parent?
Isabelle E Sly 1903-1933
William L Sly 1933-1933
A simpler story in stone. He lived in her belly and now lies in her arms. A nearby marker belongs to a man who ended nine months of fatherhood in the morning and began 50 years as a widower by nightfall.
Edgar Taro Aoki 1910-1933
Yaeko Aoki 1918-1994
They said they were going to spend forever together, even when that meant moving to the United States. He had to wait a long while, but they’re together again.
The stones here are old, etched by hand tools and grown in moss. Most were carefully chosen by loved ones in their moment of grief.
“Loving Memories Last Forever”
“My Beloved Wife”
“Always Loved, Never Forgotten”, this last proven by the fact that his wife joined him here, 43 years later.
If the stones are old and crumbling, the people seem fresh and new. Thier memories linger here, personalities creeping through words carved in rock. “Loved Family, Friends and Pets” still smiles on the occasional misbehaving dog. “Great Nana” and “Loving Wife, Mom, “Oma” get together and smile at the little ones. “Died at Normandy” has finally found some peace, perhaps tucked into bed by “Ida Mae Morrow, A Quintessential Quilter”. Some are always concerned when the grieving ones come like “Lifelong Caregiver” and “She was Always Smiling”. Even “The Family Comedian” knows to tone it down a bit when the new arrivals come. They might be gone from our world, but they live on here in memory and in stone.
After quite a walk and meeting a lot of new people I pause at a couple of stones.
Lewis C Hart Aug 10, 1899 May 9, 1973
Velma R Hart 1906-1981
The markers for my grandparents lie across a small courtyard from each other. I haven’t thought to bring flowers, but someone has been here before me. I take a flower from grandma’s stone and place it on grandpa’s. I know she always took care of him.
As the sun sets, I begin the hike up the hill to the car. Glancing back, I see someone out of the corner of my eye sitting on the bench I just left. A quick wink from a face that looks like Jackie Gleason, then, holding a single flower in clasped hands, they fade together. Their markers might be across the courtyard, but their hearts are a lot closer.
Mom thanks me for remembering and for taking the time. She smiles and waves, mouthing “I love you” as I start the car.
I reply “I love you too”, knowing full well that the words will never be adequate to express the feeling. A quick look inside reveals the words etched on my stone heart.
Patricia Faye Hart
Sep 9, 1943 - Apr 17, 2004
Gone from our sight,
yet here in our hearts
| this... this is beautiful steve.|
i remember when you first came to this site.
how fresh the pain of your mothers death was.
the way death brought the two of us together and had us finding comfort in each others writings even though our stories and paths were different...
this too is a somewhat healing piece for me...
my boyfriend doesnt have a marker...
i still have no idea what his mother did with his ashes... i gave up asking people to find out for me... one day i will confront her myself but... he lives in my heart and thats all i need to know...
i like the way you merged the actual stones etchings into this piece... the way you created stories and lives for those who passed on... i dont think its possible to write something like this so cliché free as you have... this is beautiful.
I went there to chat with Mom or maybe, better, to talk TO her, I don’t know. I just know that sometimes when I really miss her, it just seems right somehow to visit the cemetery.
this reminds me of forrest gump...
you know that scene after jenny dies and hes like "you died on a tuesday..." and starts talking to her about missing her and about little forrest and about everything and ends with "if you need anything you just let me know" and thats what the opening paragraph here reminds me of...
just going to talk...
when Otto first died all i could see in my mind was him wearing ripped jeans and coffee stained wings lol but there was something there to talk to you know...
i was always scared of cemeteries when i was little... i think my dad musta told me something that freaked me out or something and i never went near them and i when i did i was freaked to high heavens and wouldnt sleep for a month afterward lol
but then... then people started dying... ive had a lot of people i know kill themselves and a lot of my old people i worked with died and ive spent a lot of time wandering round cemetries finding graves and leaving flowers coz i refuse to let them be forgotten and i think this has changed my perspective somewhat...
i get to wondering about peoples lives... what they did... what they are remembered for... what i will be remembered for...
i dunno... the dead just seem so peaceful for the most part...
the place my grandparents are buried is right by a beach and theres a seat right by their grave so before i left for my travels i found myself sitting there for 2 hours watching the sea and reflecting on everything... it was a really beautiful moment... i must sound so morbid...
anyways... this is beautiful
an the way you end it...
it made me smile for you...
i guess i just felt your peace...
|| Posted on 2006-08-21 00:00:00 | by Someones Epiphany | [ Reply to This ] || I remember when i did a family tree project and I had to go to the cemetery and find a gravestone. I found a young child and I wrote his life as I might have imagined it. There is something amazing about a cemetery, some hold a silence of depression while others generate a feeling of happiness and calmness. When I lived in California, I loved to walk around in the cemetery and ponder over each life, it was a really old cemetery so it brought more history with it. You did a wonderful on this one.|
|| Posted on 2006-05-23 00:00:00 | by idlewriter | [ Reply to This ] || Wow. This is really good. I enjoyed reading this very much I gotta tell you. It is very well written and expressed. Such a sad write about loss and death. I was fascinated to read about the twins here. How odd they both died on the same day. Makes me wonder how that happened just as it did you. I personally cant go to the cemetary. I have lost so many people very dear to me, one of which is my grandfather, and going there just [censored]s me up something awful. I went a couple of times and it seems to bring back the awful pain and sense of loss that I felt while he was dying. He died of cancer and I took care of him for his last 6 months when he got really sick. It is something I carry with me always and going there just brings it all back. I think of him everyday and sometimes I talk to him but I cant go to visit him. I think he would understand though. Anyway, this is really an excellent poem. And a beautiful tribute to your mom and grandparents as well. Take care.|
|| Posted on 2006-05-12 00:00:00 | by lmz | [ Reply to This ] || I realise that in my last comment I didn't mention how stunningly beautiful I thought this poem is. I love the way that you describe the different people and I guess that it is a testament to your poem that it set up so many connotations for me. They just came rushing out, when I first read it. The references to your mother are so thoughtful and the end very tender. |
|| Posted on 2006-05-05 00:00:00 | by comradenessie | [ Reply to This ] || Your writting never ceases to amaze, |
you truly brought tears to the eyes of someone who doesnt cry over a poem...
memories, the stone that hangs over the heads of those no longer with us...
you bring happiness to the thought of walking through the graveyard. Thinking of lives they lived, then tears when you think of what they could have been.
It really inspired me to try it, walking through a graveyard. I had never been to funeral till last summer... then we had 6 within a few weeks.
But, if I was dead... I would love for a writters eye to catch the words etched on my stone and wonder what they meant when they picked them out...what kind of life they had before.
This was also a beautiful memory of your mother, it was lovely to see you remember her in such a way... to see her standing there, knowing it would be just like that.
Thank you for this Steve, you have done a wonderful job as always.
|| Posted on 2006-05-02 00:00:00 | by joy7542 | [ Reply to This ] || One of my favourite spots is the graveyard of St Genny's church in Cornwall. The graves are all cock-eyed with age and overgrown with algae. From the back stone wall you look across fields to the cliffs and the sea. It makes me have fanciful notions of those buried looking out from this beautiful place – I knew some of the names on the stone like one that reads ‘a true Cornishman’ but most are strangers yet as you write their stories are told in the stone. One grave has a child’s guitar laid across the grave and at first you could be mistaken for thinking that this is a child’s grave but the headstone affirms he was in his seventies – clearly this was someone who had a great love of music. Your poem has prompted me to post a poem that I wrote a while ago but hadn’t submitted yet. I was going to tell you how it ends but that would spoil it. It is called ‘Separate Rooms’ who knows without this poem I might never have got round to submitting it. |
|| Posted on 2006-04-29 00:00:00 | by comradenessie | [ Reply to This ] || Okay Steve, I can honestly say that this is the only thing I read on here that I had a hard time quitting crying. It reminds me of when I visit my sister and nephew. Afterward I wander around the cemetery reading the stones and wondering about their all their lives. Sometimes its especially hard when I read the children . How most of them never had a chnce to fulfill any of their dreams. It is really sad. |
All I will say is that this is a wonderful piece. Filled with a lot of heartache and yet in the end shines brightness.
You are right about one thing, your mother may not have a stone, but she will always be etched into your heart. Take care dear friend.
|| Posted on 2006-04-28 00:00:00 | by lenotoire | [ Reply to This ] || This is awsome Steve. The graveyard travel through time is very good. I like the fact that you stopped to read and reflect on these monuments to the people who lived and the small stories of each. I can't say that they are all true but I would like to think they are. |
The conversation with mom is good and the wave goodby at the end is a nice touch. I can vision her waving as you drive off.
I too at times visit the graves of people long gone. I have never stopped to reflect their lives.
This gave me a longing to hear my fathers voice who has been gone along time. I am almost to the point of tears as I walked through the cemetary with you in this write.
Nicely done Steve
Respect and Admiration
|| Posted on 2006-04-28 00:00:00 | by Wisdom Seeker | [ Reply to This ] || Definately brimming with potential.|
What I like about multi-layered pieces is that they can be comfortably subjected to massive changes. With such flexibility, they are fun to write... and... with the right usage of transistory devices... fun to read.
What I like about this piece is that it promises something big (Sandman style) without being completely detached from reality.
|| Posted on 2006-04-28 00:00:00 | by ANGELO | [ Reply to This ] || I love it!|
There's so much about this I want to say, but it hard to see right now. (I've got something in my eye.)
I read an email about the life that happens in the dash. It talked about how headstones show a birth date and a death date, but the most important part of those two dates are the days in between (the -).
Mom had the biggest dash I've ever known. She lived so well that she was a bright light for others to look to. She was loved by everyone she met. And she was a great mom, not just to you but to me too.
Thanks for sharing, her and this with me.
I love you sweetheart,
|| Posted on 2006-04-27 00:00:00 | by Chell | [ Reply to This ] || Steve, I don't want to say the same thing as everyone else but I can't help it. Goddamn tears are making the screen all blurry.|
"A simpler story in stone. He lived in her belly and now lies in her arms. A nearby marker belongs to a man who ended nine months of fatherhood in the morning and began 50 years as a widower by nightfall."
That got me. Damn. Graveyards are a place of mixed emotion for me -- in some ways they are a testament to immortality, and to the eternal nature of love. Though stones may crumble and graves be covered over with weeds, they were once loved enough for those stones to be placed.
But the ones without -- the ones who died with nobody to mourn, those are the ones who truly deserve our tears.
I'm sorry, useless comment, but there's not much to say.
|| Posted on 2006-05-03 00:00:00 | by Fantastic Freya | [ Reply to This ] |