Headstones

It’s a headstone. It’s not real, but it could be one day.

I’ve written about death a lot recently. It’s been on my mind–not in a suicidal way, I want to make that very clear–but because I’m fascinated by it.

I don’t know why, but I’ve always loved cemeteries. When I visit a new city, I seek out a cemetery from the 19th or early 20th centuries. I like to wander among the headstones, reading the names, imagining their lives. So many stories, buried six feet underground. Some are buried next to their husbands or wives, some next to their children, and some alone. We all end up there, one way or another. A headstone gives us each one last opportunity to make a statement to the world, and so many of us choose to have it predetermined by a man in a shop: “Loving wife and mother;” “Among the Angels;” “Mother, Daughter, Wife;” “[Psalm 23].” Did we live our lives in such a mechanical fashion? Was the “Mother, Daughter, Wife” never anything but a mother, a daughter, and a wife?

Someday, someone is going to walk through a cemetery, pause at my headstone, and wonder about my life. What that person might know about me before reading my epitaph, I can’t tell you. I can tell you that I want my one-line story, as brief as it may be, to sum me up as a whole person.

I think the headstone up above says it pretty well for now (especially since I’ll have a headstone . . . though I plan to be cremated, not buried).

What’s your legacy? How do you want people to remember you? Can you sum up your life in the space of an epitaph?

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