Mary Made of Granite

April 5, 2011
By estandley GOLD, Kinston, North Carolina
estandley GOLD, Kinston, North Carolina
11 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Sometimes I can hear my bones straining underneath the weight of the lives I'm not living."

There is such freedom in cemeteries if you ask me, such beauty and incredible history that you could lose yourself for a day or two in one, and on a whim I decided I’d do such a thing today. While I don’t have anyone at any cemetery in this world that I actually have met before, I still felt an invisible push to go anyway, so I went with it. On the way there I wondered what people might think if they saw me, I wondered if a mourner would be able to instantly spot me as not being there for anyone in particular. I mulled over what you should wear to talk to some one’s tombstone, and what my parents might say if they knew where I was headed. But lately I feel so apathetic toward everything, and I truly don’t believe I have a lot to lose in life no matter what I do, so I went onward. After initially fretting about where to park and if I should bring my purse with me, I put in my headphones and strolled up and down the rows of granite markers with some amount of hesitation. I tried to look as if I belonged and knew exactly where I was headed, which naturally I didn’t, and to my surprise no one stopped to interrogate me or escorted me out. Gaining a bit of confidence with each step, I ran my fingers over the tops of the headstones and noted names, Mary, Elizabeth, Carson, Rose, Marcus, Frederick, John. Dates of birth, 1932, 1940, 1944, 1929. Even words engraved underneath struck me, to think of the person who picked this out for someone they loved, who decided which poem to quote, who chose that bible verse. It put a lot in perspective and moved me to tears, because I wished that I could know who these bodies under my feet were. I wanted to know who Richard’s first kiss was, and if he thought that sunrises were better than sunsets. I wanted to know if Amelia had ever felt like I do, like nothing matters and everyone around you is a pest and like you’re a burden to society. Not depressed, just lacking interest, and if she got through it, and how. Bleary eyed and feeling inclined to do so, I looked to see if anyone was around me and sat down in front of a ground stone engraved with Mary. I introduced myself and told her about all of the stresses of my life, and everything I was worried about: college, my family, my friends, why people don’t like me lately, why I’m so bitter, and why it feels like I’m walking every day with concrete shoes. Surprisingly, I felt so much better after talking to her, I must’ve spent an hour in the cemetery, and it took so much stress off of me. Perhaps Mary had it worse than I do, perhaps she never felt as I do, perhaps she did. But it helped me, instead, to not know the answer. It helped to have only a one sided conversation, and not have any input, and I don’t know why. I like to think that she heard me, and that she knows how much she helped me, because she really did. I don’t know if we would’ve been friends on this Earth, in this lifetime, as she was 65 years my senior, but I like to think that it’s better that we’re friends like this. She gets the satisfaction of knowing that even after being deceased for so long, she has helped a future generation, and I can move forward with a little less on my shoulders and a brand new friend that I don’t even know.

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