Pacifica (autumnwinds) wrote,
Pacifica
autumnwinds

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Morbidity

I live out of town a little bit, past an old cemetery at the side of the road. It's on a long hilltop, some parts with young trees, some with old trees, and the view is very pleasant. I've wanted to take a walk up there for a long time (I've never walked in a cemetery before), so I did today. Here's some thoughts.

*All the old, old graves have big trees next to them, and the recent graves have saplings. Naturally.

*I was worried at first that someone was going to yell at me for walking on the graves, but they run lawnmowers over them too, so I guess it's all right.

*Most of the graves have flat tombstones set in the ground, but the richer ones have upright, elaborate tombstones and just one person had a big mausoleum with a wrought-iron pokey fence. It looked grim.

*There was one couple grave in which the wife had just been buried probably this month. The turf was all heaped up and the mound was covered in fresh flowers. Her husband died back in 1995, and I felt a little happy that they were together.

*The older graves tend to be simpler--many as simple as just a last name. Most at least show the full name and year of birth and death, although some also add things like "mother." The older graves also tend to be clumped in family plots.

*The recent graves are much more elaborate. Carvings and engravings are much more common, full dates of birth and death are there, and some even have color portraits set into the stone.

*A few of the graves had the exact date of birth and death, and then gave the person's age in years, months, and days, which seemed redundant. Hey, you know, I bet that when people reckon up their days they don't factor in the occasional leap days. Ha!

*Older tombstones have carvings of ivy and crosses and angels.

*Newer tombstones reflect a person's life more, like carvings of skis, trumpets, and fish. They were also more apt to have quotes.

*Lots of people died young, especially in the older section. There were more babies than I'd thought.

*Many graves noted if the person had been in the armed services and in what wars, whether they'd died in them or not. Almost every person I saw that had served in WWII had the same tombstone...a flat soapy-looking white one with thick carving.

*Many of the graves had little trinkets and things from visitors...silk flowers, real flowers, windchimes (these I liked), jingle bells, toys, and all sorts of things. Lots had decorative posts over the top to hang flower baskets. Some even had little Christmas trees for the holidays.

*Creepiest thing: There were a LOT of tombstones for couples where one person was dead and buried, and the other person had their name and date of birth on it, just waiting for that person to die so they could be added in. I think that's awful. Leave a space if you want, but don't make it seem like the grave is incomplete without their body in it. I would hate to visit a grave with my own name on it. I'm not afraid of death, but it might piss me off a little.

*Weirdest tombstone: Built-in bench on top.

*Weirdest engraving: The emblem of the United States Postal Service.

*Coolest thing on a grave: On a married couple's stone, two 12 oz cups of espresso (Seattle's Best).

When my Uncle Tim and Aunt Judy lived up in Seattle while he and Dad were in the army (waaay before my time), Judy was pregnant at one point and the three of them went boating one day on Puget Sound. The water was really choppy and the boat bucked a lot, which may have been the reason that Judy miscarried their first child and only son shortly after (they later had four healthy girls, three of which are older than me and two of which have marriages, divorces, and children of their own). Although I knew that Judy had miscarried my cousin, I never knew that it happened in Seattle and that he was buried here, in that big cemetery on Aurora with the war memorials, all by himself. When Uncle Tim came to visit last year, he asked to visit the grave and Dad took him. I think I'd like to go see it myself, maybe this summer.
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