A couple of days ago I took the chance to visit my grandfather’s grave, and it left me with a profound realization: Cemeteries are weird.
Welcome to Things That Are Weird Part, uh, VIII? I Dunno, Anyway: Boneyards and Boneheads!
Ever since I was a little kid, cemeteries have been a stressful place for me. This is not due to losing loved ones, or creepy stories about ghosts and ghouls. I’m not worried about zombie attacks or running into the Mystery, Inc. crew (Ten points to Gryffindor for the Scooby Doo reference!) I’m not even worried about the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who.
I just don’t like walking on people’s graves. But seriously, where else is there to walk?
I’d get closer Grandpa, but I don’t want to step on your face.
Okay, I know people are buried under more than like 4 inches of dirt, so I’m not standing on anyone’s face. Ever since the 17th Century and that whole Black Plague thing, people have been buried 6 feet under, much to the chagrin of grave robbers (although it’s actually like 4 feet on average in the US, either because the depth was deemed unnecessary after the plague or because people’s feet used to be smaller.) So yeah, I know I’m not stepping on a person’s corpse, but when you’re there in front of a tombstone you start thinking that maybe six feet isn’t so far down (Ten points from Gryffindor for the Creed reference.)
Keeping this in mind, I generally try to do the movie-thing where you pick out a path between headstones, though I don’t usually look as cool as the hardboiled cop visiting his ex-partner’s grave. I had a conscious moment, however, where I considered that my grandfather had been cremated, meaning there was no body buried there and I was safe to tread upon his plot. It was nice to relax a moment, and just look at his plaque. (Of course, this means I forgot about picking a path altogether and then later realized I was standing on someone again.)
All jokes aside, I did actually come to a conclusion during my visit: While I enjoyed going with my family, visiting a cemetery should be a personal thing. It was good to go out there, just so I am able to find the grave again, if nothing else. As the youngest grandchild, I never really got to speak to my grandfather man-to-man. Hearing about him from my grandmother, it seems like the man generated too many stories for just one lifetime. But I guess that’s the best way to go, really.