The view from my second – story bedroom window is a humbling one. It reminds me how precious life is everyday. The view is of a simple cemetery, not quite historical, but dated, none-the-less.
I don’t mind the cemetery at all. Our house is separated from the cemetery by a stockade fence, a steep slope and railroad tracks that sit down below. These tracks are not for an Amtrak, but for an occasional slow-moving train transferring goods. I take comfort in the fact that know no one will ever build over there, and as neighbors to us, they never make a fuss. The geese fly low overhead and it is very peaceful.
The view to me is comforting, almost like an old friend, now. The same stones greet me every morning when I open up my blinds. Sometimes the view can look rather eerie when there is a low fog rolling in, and then sometimes, it can look overwhelmingly beautiful, like just after a snowstorm.
There are times I have been depressed and sat on my bed feeling hopeless about a situation, and then through teary eyes, I’ll glance over at the solemn view, and my mind starts reeling. Someday that will be me, nothing more than a name on a stone. Who will remember me? The things I liked, the friends I knew. The things I’ve done? Will it all have mattered? Did I make a difference? An impression? Then suddenly, my current problem doesn’t seem so important after all. That could be me over there.
Those stones sit there everyday and I see no one. Not one visitor. Maybe on a very, rare occasion, I’ll see a lone person sitting on a stone having lunch like they are sitting with an old friend, or a car will sit there and someone may get out and wander. I mostly see joggers and walkers, and the occasional person walking their dog, only to have it relieve itself on a stone. Now. that’s a memory I wish not to have when I am gone.
The church in the distance rings out the time at 9:00, 12:00 and 6:00, and I think to myself, how odd that is , especially for those in the cemetery who don’t care about the time anymore. And the stones sit there day after day, alone in the rain…in the snow…surrounded in leaves…and then sometimes, the miniature flags come out, like for Memorial Day. It looks slightly alive for awhile.
I wonder when the cemetery was first new, how many family members must have come to visit here. Year after year, with flowers and small gifts. I can picture groups of families, probably crying and hanging on to each other. Ill bet it was very busy for a long time… and then it just slowly got forgotten. People got older and passed on, moved away or something. The visiting stops and the stones just sit there and look like they are waiting. Waiting for someone to just remember them. The people there. They were here once, talking and laughing. They had families and memories and pasts. How sad. I don’t want this to be me someday, but I guess it will be inevitable.
So, one day, I’ve promised to buy a rose or two. I’ll walk through the plots and read the names and imagine the lives of the ones that lie there. I’ll place a rose on top of a stone, stand back and smile… and maybe, I will even say a prayer.
Then, I will say
to myself, “No, you are not forgotten…not today”.