Wednesday, January 2, 2013

85. McMahon

I didn't catch the first name, as it - like much of Spring Lake Cemetery in Rockland - was covered in snow.

It was a bench. It seems to me that's a growing fad. It also seems weird to be talking about fads in relation to cemeteries, but here we are. But let's face it, when we walk into a burial ground, we can automatically tell what's old and what's new, much like we do with hairstyles, cars and clothing. Fashion holds its sway even here. More on this topic later, I'm sure. But the bench? I'm not sold. Is it meant for sitting? I had never been a lingerer in a cemetery, mostly because until January 2, 2012, I never had anybody worth lingering for. My dad's passing changed all that. When I do get to visit him now I feel like I can stay all day, telling him back all the dirty jokes he told me as a kid.

But as for Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. McMahon, the sentiment was simple: "Miss me - but let me go."

I think that by the end of this project I will have a much deeper love for my fellow man. For decades I've seen burial grounds as places of study; I've learned more about local history in some cemeteries than I have in some libraries. They're alive for historians. But when I take those glasses off, and see the world with just a straight, human vision, the emotion hits me. Someone loved this person, and not that long ago, judging by the freshly lain basket of Christmas decorations. Those six little words, which brought a very small lump to my throat, bring tears to the eyes of people not that far away every time they read them.

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