Monday’s Blog, Neighbors in the Cemetery

Sitting down in front of the computer, I place my fingers on the keyboard and begin to write a new blog post.  So often I don’t know what will evolve as my fingers tap the keys even when I have a preconceived idea for my entry.  As you, my readers know, the content varies from stories, journal style entries and reportage to recommending a book, film or adventure venue or reacting to something that has caught my attention. Today is the latter case.

On a recent Sunday Morning, I listened to an interview by Krista Tippet (NPR program “on Being.”) The interviewee was Maira Kalman, a revered artist, writer and philosopher, raised in Israel but living and working in the US. Her story includes the difficult death of her husband age 49 and how she has coped (now 18 years later). A dear friend’s wife recently died suddenly at a young age as well, making me think that when he is ready, Maira’s words would help him begin to cope.  Within the content of the interview, Maira alludes to the neighbors occupying a plot within the same cemetery.  

As quoted below, George Gershwin is a neighbor as are members of the Barricini Family as she pictures a beautiful box of Barricini Chocolate. She calls a visit to the cemetery very uplifting. The Quote follows;

Ms. Tippett: There’s a passage where you write and illustrate about — I mean you start with Gershwin, dying at the age of 38 of a brain tumor. You say, “He’s buried in the same cemetery as my husband. My husband died at the age of 49. I could collapse, thinking about that. But I don’t want to talk about that now. I want to say that I love that George is nearby under a leafy tree. And Ira Gershwin too.”
Ms. Kalman: We’re going to visit him next week, and it really — the high point is [laughs] — we can say, “I like visiting Tibor, but the high point is going to the Gershwins.” No, I also — also, the Barricinis are nearby, and I always think of a beautiful box of chocolates and how they should have a chocolate store there in the cemetery, because it’s actually — it’s very uplifting to go to a cemetery, and it’s a beautiful place.

I cherish her sense of humor and share my long time sense of finding the cemetery a journey into more than visiting loved ones seeking solace and peace and adding the additional journey into history.  Allow me please to allude to the similarity of a visit to a cemetery and a search on the computer. Both add to our knowledge of the topic of the moment and a window far beyond our dreams as we tap on the links and loose hours absorbed in the content of those links. (a virtual candy store.) On any visit to a cemetery, near and far, I invariably hike from area to area seeking “neighbors” buried there.  I leave enriched by the history. Some are relatives, friends and acquaintances, others are famous or infamous of diverse and varied backgrounds. It is uplifting as quoted above, alleviating some of the grief in our hearts allowing humor and discovery to be layered upon the loss in our hearts. 

We all have left stones of memory on graves in every corner of the world, touching history, bringing it alive with stories and endless tales that have shaped our world. I believe the consideration of cemetery neighbors opens a sense of continuity to our journey on earth. 

I include the URL

and some photos of cemeteries visited; 

Evita Peron, Argentina

Warsaw, Poland

Atlin Cemetery, Gold rush, Alaska

Babi Yar

Viet Nam