I went to the cemetery today to visit my grandmother. While I was at the cemetery, amidst the feelings of sadness and sorrow watching my family pray over her grave, I thought of death.
Wandering past tombstones and the ghosts of children and veterans lingering in the gray cold of fall’s first chill I couldn’t help but read the tombstones of the living. I stood there wondering about these living ghosts’ current lives. I wondered if having a headstone with their names on it in some cemetery was cause for them to wait for death instead of celebrating life.
To have your tombstone readily engraved while alive was an idea that baffled me. When you’re young you don’t think much of dying.
Beloved Mother, Beloved Daughter, Beloved Wife, Boring, Boring, Boring…what will my tombstone say? What legacy will I leave behind? Will I be one of the many Beloved Daughters?
To my family reading this, please PLEASE put something creative on my tombstone – better yet, put something funny. That way when people walk by, they’ll know that I ENJOYED life and am probably enjoying death (if that is possible, I have yet to find out).
I kept praying in my mind, conversing with my grandmother’s soul, asking for guidance on my next steps in life, wishing there were some sort of manual saying, “please proceed to this destination for the next two years…” Then something happened. Through some odd epiphany of sorts I felt that this is it. This is such a time of beauty and uncertainty I’m only going to dream about later when the path I’m carving through cluttered forests becomes cemented and far too easy to trace. That’s when I’ll sit back missing the wilderness of unchartered territories and missing what I have now.
I have choice now – I can choose what path to walk, what terrains to venture into or stay out of and how to do it.
Out into the wilderness I go!
P.S. If I die and my tombstone is one of those run of the mill beloved daughter, beloved wife titles to showcase who I was in life I will haunt my loved ones until they change it. So if some months after my death you experience odd occurrences such as finding your work files in your refrigerator or your toothbrush in a cereal box you obviously messed up.
My final act will be to make people leave my grave laughing instead of crying. How would you feel if every time someone came to visit you they just burst into tears? Thanks for the flowers and all, but damn, is the thought of me that much of a downer?
P.P.S. You all know how much I love all animals so you better bring your pets, I don’t care what the cemetery rules are – it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission (Mayor Daley quote – can you tell I’m from Chicago)?
P.P.P.S. I just found out that there are elephants buried in the same cemetery as my grandmother and that little fact, my friends, made my day.