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Chris Raymond

Visit a Cemetery Day 2012

By October 26, 2012

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Cemetery in autumn

I still recall my mother in the late 1970s telling the surly teen who eventually became me that she enjoyed a walk through a New Hampshire cemetery that morning. Given the unusual sagacity I already possessed at the age of 13, I naturally assumed she was nuts and silently cursed my birth parents for not conducting a thorough background check.

As fate would have it, I too lost my mind soon afterward -- on that same trip east to visit my aunt, in fact. I believe it was a cemetery in Salem, Massachusetts, not far from the fabled gabled edifice of Hawthorne fame. I remember marveling at how little of the writing remained on the grave markers after centuries of weathering, and that I unexpectedly found the whole gamboling-through-a-cemetery experience both interesting and peaceful.

Thereafter -- and particularly once I grew interested in genealogy, realized I possessed unusually ordinary sagacity, and accepted that I wasn't adopted -- I started visiting cemeteries whenever the spirit moved me. Over the years, I've grown particularly fond of those small forgotten niches of space you typically spot briefly at 55+ mph while traversing this country's network of rural roads via automobile.

Thus, I encourage you to visit a cemetery near you this Sunday, which have been called "America's first public parks." If you're worried someone will brand you "nuts" as I unfairly did my mom years ago, please know that this Sunday is the second annual "Visit a Cemetery Day." So, even if you can't visit the gravesite of a loved one, you're still covered.

Will you/did you visit a cemetery on October 28, 2012? If so, please share its name/location (and anything else you feel like) in the comments below.

Photo Chris Raymond

November 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm
(1) William Housley says:

You know, I find this really respectful and heart-warming. I believe that we often become so consumed by our everyday lives that we forget about the ones that meant so much to those lives for so long.

I’m most certainly guilty of such a thing. My grandmother died a few years ago, and I can honestly say that I’ve been back to visit her burial site once. Really, I’m ashamed that I let myself be so consumed by my one life that I’ve almost forgotten about her sometimes. She meant so much to me for so long, I just can’t believe that I was so easy to move on.

In any event, I want that to change. I want to pay my respects and visit more often. After all, I think that graveyards, in some twisted way, are peaceful.

I have a feeling that I’ll be doing this activity in my class tonight!

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