I pull my car into the parking lot behind our elementary school every day. Well, except for weekends, of course. I normally do not pay attention to my surroundings as I gather my little teacher bag, purse, and other paraphernalia that clutters my passenger seat each morning, and make my way to the side door.
Oh sure, once in a while, like after a big rain, I may stop to pick up a few earthworms that I know will never make it back to the grass before the sun beats down on them and fries their little bodies. I help them. Worms are people too.
Once in a while I talk to the cat who lives somewhere in the neighborhood but prefers the parade of people sweet talking to him as they make their way with their own teaching paraphernalia into the side door.
But, yesterday, I looked farther than the back parking lot. We are faced on two sides by a cemetery. On one side is a church with a yard full of tombstones. To the back are more tombstones. I look at them all the time as I pull in. I even asked a co-worker one time during Halloween, “You do see that woman by that grave, right?”
But, yesterday, I really looked at them. We were dismissed early due to water problems, so I was in no hurry to go nowhere. I sat in my car and surveyed all of the memorials. The cemetery is filled with love and rememberance. It was sad, yet lovely at the same time. So, I took out my camera and starting snapping pictures.
There is understandable sadness among the residents. Some left this earth too soon. I am sure some left without being able to say goodbye. Some had a long, painful goodbye. These people were loved. I spotted one statue from my car.
The grass was wet, so I didn’t attempt the walk to the grave. I also have a bit of a problem walking through other people’s memories. Forever marked. Forever loved. So, I closed in on this particular point of interest.
Some of the tombstones, once erect, bend towards the sun. Others are crumbling from the effect of acid rain and time. But, this little angelic marker stands tall and begs me to get a closer look.
On closer inspection with my camera’s zoom, I notice that the poor angelic figure is crumbling. His sad face will be but a memory. How long has it been there, I wonder? I just don’t want to invade its privacy.
I for one, will not have a headstone or marker, for I want to be cremated so I can sit on my kids’ mantles and listen to everything that is going on, for that is how I roll. I just can’t grasp the idea of being placed underground. Oh, I know that I will be dead, and it won’t matter. But, being in a lovely vase where my children can talk to me seems fitting for the kind of person I am.
As I put my camera away after one final photo of the cemetery, I have to admit that it has opened my eyes to the other cemeteries that I pass every day. I don’t even give it a thought as I drive by each one. It’s a graveyard, after all. Nothing more, nothing less. But, I now want to take pictures of the wonderful memorials that are placed there as a result of grief and enduring love.
Time may overtake these wonderful reflections of loss.
I think I will pay more attention on my daily drive.