Thursday, August 23, 2007

Friends in Cemeteries

At the risk of sounding old school goth, one of my litmus tests for new people in my life is seeing how they do on a walk, a drive, a picnic at some lovely old cemetery. I'm lucky enough to have Oakland Cemetery so close by for that purpose. Oakland was built at a time when there wasn't green space specifically dedicated to the purpose of public gatherings like parks. Cemeteries were designed in a way that would entice people to visit them and stay for awhile.

I think the ones closest to me will always be people who enter that space and feel peace and love and revel in the beauty of the contrast between the stone and sky. They will smile with anticipation when I suggest finding a pretty spot to settle in and open up the bottle of cheap champagne and munch on the chocolate I've smuggled inside in my bag.

Secret Agent Man wrote to me this morning from Syria. He visited the grave of his best friend, god bless his soul. He was killed in December, 2002 - the same month that the Agent and I met. He spoke of how cemeteries stand still while the rest of the world is upside down. In my head I could see him standing by Khaled's grave. In my head I felt my energy fly there and gently press my palms and forehead on his back.

I think that we become more able to feel the serenity of the cemetery when we have had someone so dear ripped from our lives, our hearts. Once the funeral is over and a week or so has passed, there are very few opportunities where mourning is welcomed. As a culture we push thoughts of death aside and become more and more messed up about it- both our own death and that of the ones we love.

I've found that I need this sort of permanent place with physical definitions that holds the specific purpose to provide a setting to love and honor those we have passed on through our worlds. Even if my loved one isn't there specifically, the energy of the cemetery gives me a safe, sometimes sad, always peaceful place to remember-- and then wander and pick rosemary.


Unknown said...

is the blah girl you? (this is ana willem). if so we need to talk. i want in.

i seem to already have an account (fancy) so i'll leave it at that. i imagine you have my contact info.

nice going. i'm bookmarking this and will check in now and then.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding emo, I get choked up in cemeteries, even when I try hard not to. I'm not sure which is worse to me, the tiny coffins of children or the couple who now lies side by side, but he died 50 years before she did. They're frequently pretty places, nearly always peaceful, but oh, so sad.