Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Secrets of the Dead

An English Grave
© 2012
Last week, the last time we were in this village, we went for a walk in a cemetery.

There are a lot of above ground, and half-above ground, stone coffins in graveyards in England. With moss growing on them, holding on for dear life atop death.

Near the church on the cemetery grounds was a lone plot, the top portion of the old coffin jutted out of the ground. The headstone was too weathered to read the year, the name.

A View From A Grave
© 2012
I laid down next to the stone lid of the coffin in the damp green grass and stretched out, staring up at the blue sky, and the spring growth starting on the tree above. Probably creepy to some, taboo to others. I was curious about the person, the height of them and this seemed like the best way to figure it out; and it looked like a comfortable place to lay down. Europeans used to be much shorter, as did nearly everyone, compared to our 5'11" stature, anyway.

Graveyards are interesting. Dead people are interesting. Who was this person that now lays beneath the dirt, concealed by a wooden lid, or under a stone cover. What was their life like, what did they fear, who did they love, what kinds of things did they witness.

The finality, the fact of death, is what drives people to fear in life, and need to know what is at the end. The angst drives the desire to invent the concept of a life after death in order to pacify the unknown of nothingness. Fear, for many, is the reason to repent, to invisible ideas, for poor decisions made in this life. The comforting belief that somewhere, someone, has forgiven them, and when they go to this place, to be with this person, they will live a better life, because they were sorry for the things they did wrong in the first life. The unknown is what keeps people from living the life they have been given, and not just the unknown after death.

Laying there, staring at the sky, I listened. The dead hardly ever speak, and just because you lay next to their eternal resting spot doesn't mean they welcome you, or want to share their secrets.

For some of us nothingness is divine; for some it is scary. Some of us try to wrap our head around the unknown. It tantalizes us. We do not need for there to be a place to go after we depart this earth, we do not need forgiveness from anyone but ourselves - we actually prefer there not be a place after this, and to take responsibility for our own repentance here and now, and live here and now.

I think fear is good sometimes, it can be good. The fear that when this life is over, this is the end. We could have died once by our own hand. We almost died once by the acts of another. All it would have taken the second time was not coming back from unconsciousness. We wouldn't have known the difference had we not come back, but in coming back we know the difference.

This being the only existence people have to live, means one should live it exactly how they want, baring in mind nobody should impede on other people's lives, and overall happiness too heavily just for the sake of their own. Every day the difference is between life and death. You can die any minute, in any number of ways. It's not morbid to think about it, it's healthy to recognize it and live your life accordingly.

In some fear you can find happiness, because you have to. One chance. It's all you get.
When someone perchance lays next to your grave someday, what will you tell them?

At the end, when we are there, waiting in those seconds for the light, or the darkness...or the nothingness, whatever it may be, we don't want "would have", "could have", "should haves"...we want did, tried, tired and ready; and if someone picks of a flower grown from soil and our scattered ashes, we want something to tell them.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think what you did is weird at all. And you have some pretty awesome ideas about how to live life. I wish more people had your insight!