I've visited more graveyards and cemeteries than most 30-year-olds, being in my line of work. But I do think more people should try to visit them more often. They are peaceful, often very beautiful sites, and perfect places to ponder the past, present and future.
There's no need to wait for a funeral or an anniversary of a loved one's death to pay a little visit. It's nice to pay our respects throughout the year, as the seasons come and go. It's nice to regularly remember cherished relatives and friends who were a big part of our lives and helped us to become the people we are.
Once we ourselves are all gone, those we already mourn will be forgotten, forever. That fact won't hurt them; they won't feel our loss. But to be respectful to the dead while we can is, I think, one of the marks of a decent citizen. And it might do us some good too, for being surrounded by trees, flowers and aesthetically-pleasing gravestones is food for the souls of the living. Many graveyards and cemeteries are havens for wildlife, little seas of nature and tranquility among the tumultuous seas of our frenzied modern lives.
You can walk or sit and think about what you're doing with your own 24 hours a day, perhaps surrounded by the graves of a few people you knew or have heard of, and others you don't have a clue about.
You can read their headstones and take a little time to think about them before asking yourself -- as you're still lucky enough to be in the land of the living -- am I living a good life? Am I fulfilled? Am I a good person? Could I change anything about myself to make life better for me and better for my loved ones?
In a rush-rush-rush and unsettling, everchanging world, I'd highly recommend a regular hour or two in a graveyard or cemetery (for starters, try York Cemetery -- it's wonderful!)
It could help to make you calmer and help to foster a sense of being at one with the world.
If you try it, let me know how you get on!
Until next time,