mellicious: pink manicure (Potterpuffs fawkes)
[personal profile] mellicious

George cemetery
Originally uploaded by Mellicious.

This seems very apropos right now.


In the cemetery
a mile away
from where we used to live,
my aunts and mother
my father and uncles lie
in two long rows,
almost the way
they used to sit around
the long planked table
at family dinners.
And walking beside
the graves today, down
one straight path
and up the next,
I don't feel sad, exactly,
just left out a bit,
as if they kept
from me the kind
of grown-up secret
they used to share
back then, something
I'm not quite ready yet
to learn.

(By the way, the tombstone in the picture belongs to a great-aunt - my grandmother's older sister. Note the dates.)

Date: 2007-03-09 04:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've lost my grandparents, but otherwise my relatives are all still around. That poem scares the dickens out of me, because for some reason I can so clearly picture myself walking through that cemetary someday, visiting all the grownups. The lonesomeness of it is kind of staggering. Still, it is strangely reassuring to think of them enjoying an eternal sunday dinner like that.

Date: 2007-03-09 05:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There are a pretty large number of my relatives at the cemetery where my mother's ashes are going to be buried, but for the most part they are not in neat rows, they are scattered about in different section of the cemetery. So we don't have the "family dinner" metaphor, particularly. Great-aunt Mildred up there is near HER parents but not the rest of her brothers and sisters. (We did a lot of exploring in that cemetery a few years ago, one day when we were early for a family wedding, and that's where those pictures come from.)

I like cemeteries, on the whole, but I do know what you mean about the loneliness. My mother's family was the center of my world when I was growing up, and they are all dead now. That aspect of it seems to have hit several of the remaining family members really hard (including me).

Date: 2007-03-09 06:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well... nowadays it'd be tough to bury a whole family all together. But maybe the "Our Town" idea is onto something, and the spirits of our late relations get up at night and wander around the graveyard to socialize. That might be better, in some ways. They could go visit each other when the fancy takes them, and then go home for some privacy! There are some relatives you maybe wouldn't want to have RIGHT NEXT DOOR, you know?

Sorry, I'm not trying to be flippant. Just letting the imagination wander a little.

Date: 2007-03-09 03:04 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hee. No problem, I like that idea.

Date: 2007-03-09 03:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
(Damn log-ins. That was me.)

Date: 2007-03-09 04:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That poem was amazing.

Hearing you talk about your family reminds me that there are pluses and minuses to everything; I'm occasionally sad about not having had a big, warm family situation, but that just means my sense of loss is around a different aspect of family -- you're getting your share now.

Take care.

Date: 2007-03-09 04:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I confess I like what the New Orleansians do. All the graves are above ground because the ground is too wet. Most are basically double-deckers. When one dies, one is put in a shroud and put on the top deck. The heat quickly (in a year) decomposes everything but the bones. When the next family member dies, the first one is put in the lower level, and the new body is put on the top one. Over time, the bones of the whole family gather on the lower level and blend together into the dust. I don't mean to be morbid, but there's something comforting about that thought.

Since I don't live in Louisiana, though, I've directed in my will that my executor try to arrange a "green" funeral for me. I don't want to pollute the earth more that I have already! Plus, I also like the idea of my body nourishing a tree or garden.

Date: 2007-03-09 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, the majority of people here are still doing the traditional embalming and burial thing (mostly with ridiculously expensive casket), so I feel like I am doing my part for the environment, to a certain extent, just by trying to spread the word that you don't have to do it that way. Much as I do like them, cemeteries are going to have to be a thing of the past at some point. There's just not enough room to bury all 5 billion of us that way.

I do like the New Orleans alternative, too - one space per family.

I don't know that I've ever gotten around to saying this, but what we are doing with my mother's ashes, since she was pretty adamant about "being near" her parents, is burying the ashes in one end of the plot next to them - the idea being that later, if somebody else wants to do the same thing, we can double up. Apparently the cemetery people were fairly mystified by the whole thing - I guess it doesn't come up a lot in rural East Texas.


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