Yesterday when driving back from fishing, burnt the hell up from the sun, and fishless, I drove past a huge cemetery. The cemetery was overcrowded with grave stones, big, small, fancy and plain. You could tell someone spent thousands of dollars on some of them, probably dipping into their savings. Others were modest – some were so small the names of the deceased could barely fit onto them.
It reminded me of when you buy a really small birthday cake for a loved one and they have a long name like my daughter, and the cake decorator has a hard time fitting the name plus happy birthday on the cake.
Some of the grave stones were so close to each other it appeared the bodies had to be overlapping in their caskets underground. I wondered how so many dead bodies managed to accumulate in such a small, quiet town and fill such a huge cemetery leaving it overflowing from one end to the next.
It was the day before Memorial Day so most of the graves adorned flowers. Family members stood there staring at the ground, the flowers, and the grave stones. Their faces showed different expressions, including expressions of sorrow, hopelessness, wonder, drifting, day dreaming, you name it. As far as I could see, during my quick drive-by, there were no happy faces except for those of small children who had no idea why they were there and probably thought they were out on a fun family field trip.
I thought about all the people lying in those graves. How we feel about them being gone. How we miss them. How we grieve. And how we gather around to show “respect”. But what stayed in my mind more was “what about these people that are no longer here?”
Did they enjoy their lives? Did they follow their dreams? Were they happy? Did the people around them make them happy or help make their lives better when they were living? Were they mistreated. Did they believe in themselves? Did they spend a lot of time wishing they had done something else? Did they spend time in a marriage or relationship they wanted out of? Did they wish they traveled? Did they have the career they wanted? Were they free or did they even feel free? Were they sick most of their lives and how did that affect them? Did they let great opportunities pass them by? Or were they happy with the simple things?
Did they do what they wanted to do and how did they feel about that when they were living?
I wondered these things because I felt like, at the end of the day, no matter how much we mourn these people, it’s not about us. It’s about them. And then it is about us because someday, someone will mourn us….
The only thing in this world we cannot reproduce, manufacture, or conjure up is more time. How are you going to spend yours?