Blue Heron Writes

Sharing to Inspire through Words and Pictures www.wendiedonabie.com

The Case for a Gravestone


Have you ever wandered through a cemetery reading the engravings on the headstones?

JOHN W. SMITH

JAN. 25, 1876 –

JUL. 3, 1917

A TRUE FRIEND

A life summed up in four short lines. We are born, we live, we die, we leave something behind. All of those souls buried beneath their grave markers contributed in some way to our world.  Maybe they performed acts of great social or political significance or perhaps they just lived ordinary lives. Some may have experienced great worldly success, others tragedy and heartache. No matter what their life experience they had an impact somewhere on someone. And the markers holding the dates of their births and deaths are evidence they were here. Like the Inuit, inuksuk (markers of navigation for hunters and fishermen) gravestones are navigation markers of lives lived. When you walk through a cemetery you are travelling through the history of every person buried there.

Many people suggest cemeteries are taking up too much real estate with bodies and ashes and we should all be cremated and sprinkled over a favourite place or used for fertilizer (will that work?). Maybe walls of memory could replace cemeteries and our ashes and remains all collected and returned to the earth in some compostable fashion. That would be okay. I just feel it’s important to acknowledge the life of every individual. We exist, and something somewhere, besides a paper or electronic archive, needs to record that we were here. Gravestones serve that purpose. They are a permanent testimony to our lives.

When my mother died in the 1980s she asked for her ashes to be sprinkled on the golf course where she spent so much time. My stepfather complied, as I believe was his duty. My problem with her choice is the lack of anything to mark her life, her very existence. She lived, she died, she is no more, except in the memories of those who knew and loved her. And memories are important but I have no children of my own so when my generation of cousins is gone there will be no memories left of her; this saddens me. If a grave marker existed people could read her name, her birth date and death. In some small way, her memory would live on.

Joyce

My case for grave markers came to the fore again last November when my best girlfriend, Joyce, of thirty years suddenly passed away. Unfortunately, she left little behind to cover the cost of her cremation and burial. Her next of kin planned to bury her ashes and plant a tree in her memory. Joyce would have liked that; she loved trees. But there would not be a marker acknowledging her place and time spent on this earth. That was important to me and to her cousin who had the responsibility of making her final arrangements. When I received news of her death, I immediately knew what to do.

At the time of my late husband’s death, I purchased a double gravestone and had my name and birth information inscribed to save the family money when I died. That was four years before I unexpectedly fell in love. Now, in a new relationship, I had decided I would not be using the cemetery plot for my remains. Who better than my friend to take that place? Joyce’s cousin agreed and arrangements are being made now for her burial in April. And the stone is being re-engraved with my friend’s name, birth and death information.

Joyce & I

I loved Joyce dearly. I recognize I haven’t really dealt with her death. Losing her still seems surreal. She was too young to die, too full of love and giving. Joyce’s interment will be a sad but satisfying day for me. It will provide some closure, a place I can visit to and lay flowers in her memory, and best of all she will be surrounded by beautiful, mature trees.

If you ever find yourself in Woodlands Cemetery in Hamilton, you might just wander by a small flat stone engraved,

JOYCE MALUGA

FEB. 13, 1945

NOV. 23, 2011

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW

If you do, please stop for a minute. Beneath that stone lies the remains of a beautiful woman, a friend to many, who never became famous but whose heart, soul and generous spirit touched the countless lives leaving them richer.

This ends my case for gravestones.

©Wendie Donabie 2012

Advertisements

3 Comments

  1. well done !!

  2. carolrice

    I like this Wendie – good job!

  3. Wendie so sorry for the loss of your friend. You are truly a remarkable person and have given her an incredible gift. Lots of love…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

shivashishspeaks

ALL U WANNA KNOW

coffee and a blank page

a feminist writes, rants, remembers

This Way Up

Seven Tools for Unleashing Your Creative Self and Transforming Your Life

Around ZuZu's Barn

Conversations with Kindred Spirits

World of Horror

A place for writers and book lovers

unbolt me

the literary asylum

Logical Quotes

Logical and Inspirational quotes

KURT★BRINDLEY

WRITER★EDITER★PRODUCER★CONSULTANT

Divine Light Healings

Love and Expansion

My Blog

A fine WordPress.com site

Espirational: A 10 Minute Vacation for the Soul

Espirational: A 10 minute vacation for the soul.

The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

Vonj Productions

Bringing you love through spirit!

O at the Edges

Musings on poetry, language, perception, numbers, food, and anything else that slips through the cracks.

sheila sea

like thalassic velvet

MidiMike

Songwriter and Sound Engineer

Del Nolan

None of it is real

Worldiction Art and Media

Poetry, quotes, and art for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other Social Networking

%d bloggers like this: