Finding life in the cemetery

By Racey Burden | Published Wednesday, July 27, 2016

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I live right down the street from a cemetery, and I love it.

Any time I go for a walk, that’s the route I take – up the hill, slight right through the gates. Springtime is the best time to visit because bluebonnets start dotting the graves. There are always rabbits running around between tombstones and birds whistling through the trees.

For a place full of dead people, it feels fairly alive.

Racey Burden

Racey Burden

There’s a particular route I like to take, walking along the back end, which touches a meadow. There’s a pavilion out there where I like to sit sometimes, if I’m not in any particular hurry. Then I’ll make my way around to the far end, out behind the Waggoner mausoleum, which is creepy even during the day, out past the oldest graves and back to the front.

It’s a nice place. It doesn’t really feel sad. It’s not bad for a final resting spot.

Every walk I go on, I try to stop by a new grave, read the dates and names. There are a few I’m especially fascinated by – a heartbreaking grave with a lamb on top that belongs to an unnamed infant, a woman buried alone in a plot that was clearly meant for her whole family, two side-by-side tombstones that appear to belong to a couple who married very young. The man died very early in the marriage, and the woman was still buried next to him when she died 70 years later. I wish I knew what these people were like.

I heard once that for every live person on earth there are 14 dead people. That doesn’t seem like that many to me. I sometimes think of how nice it might be if we could all just pick 14 people to remember, to keep alive with our thoughts.

Of course, it doesn’t work that way. Most of the dead died so long ago no one remembers them now. I think that’s part of the reason why I enjoy reading these tombstones, especially the older ones. It’s just nice to think that, even if only for a few moments, someone is taking notice of the life of someone else who is so long gone only Mother Nature leaves flowers on their grave.

Racey Burden is a reporter for the Messenger.

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