Sunday, August 25, 2013

You say Morbid- I say Entertaining

I have been working on a website for a friend at work. When I called to see if he got my email full of edits and ask whether or not he was going to used them (because I only got through half the site and I don't like doing things by halves- but seriously if he's not going to use them then there is no sense in finishing, right?) as i had time this weekend to finish it.

He said, "Take the weekend off! Go out and do something fun- have a drink!"

Me: "uhhh... I don't drink."

Him : "Well then go drink something caffeinated."

Me: "Ummm.. I don't drink caffeine."

Him: "Seriously? Then what do you do for fun? Either way- take the weekend off and go do something fun."

Sigh... Ok. So that threw me for a loop. What could I do that was fun? I'm poor- and any friends that I've created here either have lives outside of work or they work on the opposite weekend as me. But I was determined to do something- because if he asks and all I can say is, "I stayed home and watched movies at ate till my head fell off..." I'll sound really lame.

I get tired of going to movies and plays alone. I still do it- but it's starting to get old. I couldn't go home because I was called as the new Gospel Doctrine teacher for Sunday School and I had to be here to prepare a lesson and teach it.

It was beautiful and all I really wanted to do was do something outside. I don't know where any hiking trails are- and I wouldn't want to go alone anyway in case something happened. I wasn't feeling particularly cultural so I didn't feel like a museum.

What could I do that was outside- and yet safe and fun to do alone? I went to my favorite cemetery. The Salt Lake City Cemetery is honestly the most beautiful American Cemetery I have ever seen- and I looooove cemeteries so I tend to check them out wherever I go.

I didn't take this- but you can see how gorgeous the view is- and this isn't
even the prettiest part of the cemetery

It's high in the Avenues in North Salt Lake. If you find a spot in between the trees you can see out over the whole valley. It really is beautiful. It's also the oldest cemetery in Salt Lake. There are several notable people from LDS church history buried there. The older section is of course full of pioneers and early settlers of the state. (Brigham Young is not there- he is in a more private cemetery a few blocks from Temple Square)

There are several Church Presidents and whole sections of folks from all over the world. It's fun because a lot of the monuments will say Born in ... whatever foreign city.... and Died in Salt Lake City, Ut.

But that's not why I love cemeteries. Have I ever talked about this before? I can't remember if I have or not. I love cemeteries because they are FULL of stories. Every single one of those people has a story. I like to try to imagine what it was. Were they happy? Was their life a living hell? Did they marry for love? Did they marry out of desperation? Did he beat his wife? Was she a mild mannered woman or did she stand up for what she believed?  Did they have children? Did they have siblings? This one died young- why? Was it disease or accident? How many children did they bury along the trail- or in other places? How did they feel to leave their families and come west? Why did they come to Utah in the first place? How did they fit in in the community?

Seriously- there are so many questions and I absolutely love playing that game. Some people think I'm really morbid for doing that- but I don't think so. The whole reason we erect monuments and have grave markers is because people want to be remembered. We don't want the world to continue as if we were never here. Even if no one we know will ever see our grave- or perhaps even know we're there- it's the last ditch effort to say "I was here". And although I don't know any of these people (well, there are two people that I know of who are buried there whom I have seen in person), in some way I am remembering them. I'm reading their names and life dates. Some of them have quotes on them encouraging us to enjoy what we have- or to remind us that life is precious.

If you really concentrate, you can feel the pain and anguish the mothers felt over each of those little stones marking the graves of children. You can almost see the mother kneeling at the graveside- crying in agony at the loss of her child- whether it was stillborn or a teenager.

There is a whole section of veteran graves. That part is always beautiful and I love to pay my respects and say Thank You to those who died so that I could have my freedom.

I was there for a few hours. I'm determined to make it all through that cemetery but I've still barely made a dent. There are whole sections I've yet to make it to and wonder about the people there. Their stories are just waiting.

So yeah- I did go out and do something fun. You perhaps might not think so- but that was probably the most peaceful, cleansing time I've spent (outside the temple) in a really long time. I got a lot of serious crying done while I was there and some good hiking (because yes, that cemetery is a really good hike! It's very hilly) both of which I really needed.

As for the rest of the weekend? well... that part's not so exciting. Let's suffice it to say that the dog is gone. His proper owners were found and he had to be returned. It's a pretty sad household right now. Even I am a little sad about it. He was just starting to warm up to me in company (he only liked me before if I was the only one home).  I'm sure a new one will move in before long.

PS- if you ever come to Salt Lake and want a tour of the Cemetery- I am happy to oblige! I love showing people around and playing Mormon Tour Guide! There is even often music involved!

1 comment:

Heather said...

I totally get your sentiment about cemeteries! How did we not already know we had this in common? We need to go cemetery hopping! I think our cemetery here rivals Salt Lake's in beauty. Such a beautiful, peaceful place! I love to imagine and feel their stories too. Especially when you find ancestors.