Tag Archives: cemetery

2231. Cemetery shortcut

There was someone, or something, watching me. I felt it. That night I shouldn’t have taken a shortcut through the cemetery. It was to change my life.

I had been working late at the law office. I was going to grab some junk food somewhere on the way home (I would go to work on foot and lived alone) but then I remembered some left-over soup in the fridge. Waste not, want not – as my granny used to say. It’s a motto I’ve lived by. So I was hungry and eager to get home. That is why I took the shortcut through the cemetery. I normally wouldn’t do that because to be honest I don’t like cemeteries, let alone at night.

I got goose bumps. The hairs on my arms and back of my neck stood up. I wanted to turn around and look. There was no sound, no footsteps. I was telling myself, “Don’t turn around! Don’t walk faster! Stay calm and quietly walk forward and you’ll soon be out of here.”

And then I heard it. A little sound. Very quiet. Very soft. “Help! Help!”

I stopped. It seemed to be coming from a tall gravestone monument – a pedestal with a marble angel on top. “Help! Help!”

My first thought was to wonder if this was a trap. But what if it wasn’t? What if the child was in genuine need? (I presumed it was a child because the voice was so small). I decided to investigate. It was a child indeed. A little girl. I asked her what was wrong, but she would answer nothing but “Help! Help!”

“Come with me,” I said, and she followed. We went home and I contacted the police. Over the next few weeks messages went out about the little girl. It drew a blank. No one knew a thing, and the little girl spoke but would never say her name or where she came from.

That was fifteen years ago. As the years went by I realized something: it wasn’t the little girl who was watching me. It was someone else.

Tonight we celebrate Sasha’s twenty-first birthday. We made up the age and date and name. I know that Sasha and her boyfriend Sam are going to announce their engagement. She has been the joy of my life.

1619. Such a pretty garden!

Monica had what could only be described as “a pretty garden”. It wasn’t very big but it was perfect in every detail. It was all flowers, and through careful planning Monica managed to get it to flower (prolifically) for a good ten months of the year.

Monica didn’t let the time she spent on the garden come between her and having a tidy house. It was neatness to the core. Even the books in her bookshelf (which contained mainly well-read classics) were carefully arranged on each shelf from tallest to shortest. To say nothing of the cupboards! The pots were a picture. And the pantry! Oh my word! One quick peek at the rows of carefully labelled spices and herbs was enough to convince one that God had put the alphabet on earth for a reason.

And yet, Monica wasn’t a fusspot. Nor was she neurotic in her tidiness. She would enjoy making a mess as much as you and me. It’s just that, unlike you and me, she always cleaned up afterwards.

As happens to most people, she eventually died. And what a pretty cemetery with well-kept gravestones! The flowers placed on each grave were removed once the bouquet had wilted. Honestly! It was a pleasure to stroll down the row upon row of dead people and simply take in the orderliness and (dare I say it?) beauty.

And then what happened? Progress doesn’t step aside for anything. All human remains were removed to a common grave (with relatives permission of course) to make room for an extension to an industrial plant. They were reburied (in bulk) in a park nearby with a makeshift memorial saying that a list of the names of people reburied here was available for perusal at the city council office.

Eventually the makeshift memorial rotted away. Long grass and brambles took over the entire park. It was an utter mess. It was a jungle. Few remembered it was once a burial site. The world moves on.

If ever proof was needed that there is a life after death it is here… Monica was clearly pulling strings. The local community got together and created a community garden on the site. It was all flowers, and through careful planning they managed to get it to flower (prolifically) for a good ten months of the year.

1315. Tidy Mrs Connolly

Mrs Connolly’s garden was a picture of tidiness. She was a tidy person. She lived next door to a large cemetery and was delighted that the cemetery was kept so shipshape. It was as if her garden sprawled over quite a few acres with neat rows of stone monuments.

Mrs Connolly liked to wander the cemetery. She knew the graves quite well. In particular, she knew the graves that were visited regularly, and those visited once a year on an anniversary, and those never visited. Most times, especially with the once-a-year visitors, flowers would be left on the graves. Mrs Connolly found it rather moving.

Of course, those who placed flowers every week removed the previous week’s bouquets. The once-a-year visitors’ flowers were often left to wilt.

The inside of Mrs Connolly’s house too, was a picture of tidiness. And always with lots and lots of flowers.

1295. Very grave

Where Dudley’s wife was buried was very pretty. It wasn’t a huge cemetery, quite small in fact, with a hedge all the way around. The lawns were well maintained. Dead flowers were frequently tidied up.

Dudley would leave fresh flowers on his wife’s grave about once a month. He planned to be buried there too. To think – their graves would be there for hundreds of years.

Anyway, all that went up in smoke when in the war the whole place got bombed to smithereens.

1280. Cemetery saunter

Warwick Rabbits liked nothing better to relax than to quietly wander a cemetery. He enjoyed reading the gravestone inscriptions. He imagined what the person was like.

Here’s the grave of Roman Mead. Died 5 July 1924. It’s not a common name, Roman. Warwick could see no other Meads buried in the vicinity. Perhaps he never married. It doesn’t say how old he was.

And here’s the grave of Roberta Cattermole, loved wife of Denny. He’s buried there with her, although he went first. Looking at the dates, she lived as a widow for nineteen years.

Oh, and here’s the grave of Carol Greenberg, died aged seven months. How sad. Warwick pondered how his parents must have grieved.

And here’s… goodness… here’s the grave of… It can’t be? Surely not? Here’s the grave of Warwick Rabbits. Born 12 August 1941. That was his birthday. The day, month and year, and his name, were the same as his. Warwick wondered if he was dead. He didn’t recall dying. He didn’t remember having been ill in recent times. He must have died suddenly, if indeed he was dead.

Nothing was different. He felt the same, except he had no lumbago and it was three in the morning. Why on earth would he be wandering a cemetery at that time of night? And then he noticed something. It would normally have shocked him deeply. He was wearing no clothes. But it didn’t matter because he didn’t have a body.

1219. Candles and husbands

Ivanna was a cemetery visitor. She had buried three husbands over the years and each year on the same day she visited their graves to say a prayer and light a candle. Not that she was allowed to leave a candle burning in the cemetery but Ivanna was not one to be over fussed by rules.

Ivanna liked to light all three candles with a common flame. It provided some sort of unity to the remembrance, as if to say that each consecutive husband didn’t mind his position being usurped after his death. Lighting three candles from the one flame was her way of acknowledging that acceptance.

The trouble was that all three husbands were buried in three different cemeteries and each a few miles distant from the other. Not to worry. Ivanna always brought four candles; one for each grave and a fourth to transfer the common flame by car to the next cemetery.

The first candle was lit. Ivanna set off for the next husband, carrier candle aflame and car windows tightly shut. It’s not impossible to drive with just the one free hand.

The second candle was lit. Ivanna set off for the third husband, carrier candle aflame and car windows tightly shut. It was then that Ivanna was stopped by a policeman.

“What are you doing driving along with just the one free hand and the other holding a lighted candle?” asked the policeman.

Ivanna explained her little ritual to the very nice man and he smiled and said it was a dangerous thing to do but if she left her car on the side of the road he would take her to the next graveyard himself in his police car. So he did that, and they did it every year after. They’ve been married for eleven years now.