When I was younger I was very afraid of cemeteries. I didn’t like the idea of being surrounde by dead bodies. I had images of zombies and ghosts haunting cemeteries and I would never have visited one at night no matter what the reason. I was even scared of Edgar Allan Poe and his short stories and poems when I found out that he hung out in cemeteries as a child. I thought it made him even creepier.

I suppose death and dying are a natural thing for humans to be afraid of, especially as children when we don’t really understand why life has to end. I think children have this belief that everything in the world should be happy and wonderful. Death is pretty much the opposite of everything happy and wonderful, which I think is why there are so many myths and beliefs based around an afterlife. Surely it helps people to move on and keeps them from becoming jaded about life.

Me, I’ve still never had anyone really close to me die. I’ve only ever been to one funeral in my life. I still don’t have a huge respect or understanding of death due to my inexperience with it. I have, however, lost my fear of cemeteries.

There’s a cemetery about six blocks from my house that I like to go to when I go running. I run on my way there and then I stroll through the cemetery looking at all of the headstones and flowers placed on the graves. Perhaps I wouldn’t love all cemeteries, but this one is one of the old style cemeteries with huge weeping willows and oak trees scattered about the property. There are plots separated from the others because they have been bought by an entire family. They’re families have been buried next to each other for generations. I think it’s a beautiful place to walk and wonder about life, not just the dying part of life but everything in my life.

When I was there the other day there was a grave with fresh tulips placed on it. It must take a lot for people to visit the grave of a loved one often enough to freshen the flowers on their tombstone. I think the saddest of the graves are the tiny ones. The ones with baby rattles and teddy bears placed on them. Those always get me thinking the most, especially because there seem to be so many of them.

I don’t think Poe was as creepy as I originally suspected. Walking through the cemetery here is peaceful and it inspires me to think about things I don’t normally think about. I think it would still creep me out at night though.