A Walk Among the Dead

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It was a beautiful late summer day in Minnesota.  My husband Daniel decided this was a great day for a walk…through a cemetery.

He knows how to make a guy feel loved.

We went to down to Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.  It’s the big cemetery in the area and has some of the state’s most famous people hanging out.  A number of Pilsburys are buried there, as is the late Senator Paul Wellstone, his wife and one daughter who were all killed in a plane crash 12 years ago.

I have to say I enjoyed the walk.  It was interesting to see these burial stones of people who lived long lives and some not so long.

The thing is, if I had been asked a few years ago if I wanted to walk around the final resting place of thousands of folks, I would have passed.  It was Daniel that made the difference.

When make trips to South Dakota to visit an aunt and other relatives, we have always stopped by his mother’s and father’s grave.  They in separate church cemeteries only a few miles apart.  I remember on the day of his dad’s funeral, his sister, brother and nephews went to his mom’s grave, and got a blanket and spread it in front of her grave.  None of this was disrespectful; it was honoring one parent on the day that the other parent is being laid to rest.

Daniel helped me see something I should have seen a long time ago.  We all die.  We will all end up at a place like this.  Death doesn’t have to be scary; it’s just something that at least on this side of heaven, just is. 

I’m less scared of death because of Daniel.  A few years ago, my Aunt Nora died after a battle with Alzheimer’s.  I visited her in the hospice, but didn’t go to the funeral in Michigan.  When Daniel and I visited Michigan a few months later, I needed to go to the cemetery to see where my aunt was buried.  We found the gravesite and I felt a sense of completeness.  A few years back, I wouldn’t have done this, but now I had to visit, to say hello, if that makes sense.

Death is present in all of our lives.  Our beloved pets die, our parents die, and we die.  If we can accept that we are finite and that we will end up at a cemetery someday, maybe we can make death less scary- and maybe we will learn to live the life we have left.

BTW, please read this great post on death and life by David McElroy.

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