Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Cemetary Honors Paper

Cemetery…A resting burial ground, a sacred and religious location or a dark and gloomy fearful spot
When I think about what a cemetery means to me and how I feel about it, several different things come to mind. Growing up I was always taught to pay my respects by doing the sign of the cross each time I passed a graveyard because of my Italian culture and religion but, I must admit it was a scary and eerie place for me and it was always something I had trouble understanding. The thought that “dead people” lay beneath the ground was a mystery to me and I was terrified by it. I remember thinking and feeling how awful it must be for the people in the coffins. I was very naive to the fact that only their body lies there but, that their soul had moved on. Every time I went to visit someone at the cemetery with my family I knew I had to be quiet and respectful and that it was a place of mourning and private intimate moments for family and friends of those who had passed on. Today, I carry much of the same feelings as far as respect and privacy go. Every time I drive into a cemetery I make sure to have my radio turned down, drive slowly through and not make a mockery of those buried there by laughing, speaking loudly or showing other signs of disrespect. Sadly, many times I watch people act out in cemeteries and I wonder how one could act in such a manner in such an important place. When I was younger and I started hearing of people having weddings and picnics in cemeteries I felt very disturbed by the idea. As I have grown older and my perspectives have matured and changed I have started seeing cemeteries in a different light. Although my views on respect have never changed, I have started seeing it as less of a dark, gloomy place where only sadness occurs and more of a place where resurrection and happiness can begin. Although I have always felt that once a loved one has passed on you can talk to them anywhere, being near their place of burial makes sense to me now-a-days. I have started seeing it as a way to be closer to them in a sense, and a way to still feel as if they are part of the life still going on around you. I feel the way we are raised and the experiences we have through our lives ultimately mold the opinions we have on everything, including how we feel and perceive cemeteries. Today, I am able to feel a sense of comfort each time I visit a family member. Being in the cemetery now-a-days can be so peaceful and sometimes it even allows me to escape the stress of everyday life and take a deep breath to realize the important things and throw away the petty life obstacles. I am inspired to feel closer to not only my loved ones but, to God as well and no feeling is more powerful than to know your loved ones are now in the hands of such a loving an amazing God. Although, at times I still catch myself feeling uncertain of my feelings when I am in a cemetery alone, especially at night, I now realize this as being part of a normal human response and I try to take a step back and not think of the material idea behind a cemetery but rather the spiritual and emotional connection that I can experience each time I visit a loved one. Being able to walk into a cemetery without the eerie fears has allowed me to feel much more at ease and given me the chance to remember my loved ones in a way where they can be honored and know they will never be forgotten and nothing could make me feel more grateful than that.

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