Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Cemetery Reflections ~ Pain


Wife of
July 22, 1854
A. 25 yrs 11 ms
& 25 ds.

CEMETERY REFLECTIONS: What would the sleeping generations tell us about living? What would we go back and tell ourselves?

~Pain is the friction of life moving forward. But I don't know yet how to embrace it. Or whether we're supposed to embrace it at all.

(Featured on this stone: A beautiful rendition of weeping willow symbolism, signifying loss, sadness, and grief.)


the walking man said...

Embracing pain, taking the hot coal in your hand and letting it sit there, as you man up and think "this doesn't hurt"...what good is that lie?

It hurts like hell on an already hot day. No do not embrace the pain, understand it but never hang on to it.

Catvibe said...

I agree with walking man. And occasionally that pain will pop up again in our lives, perhaps to reveal an insight, and we need to embrace it then too. But just like joy, nothing should be clung to, because then it becomes a lie. Nothing except Being, I Am, You Are. And even that will ultimately need to be released, as evidenced by Louisa.

Sarah Hina said...

I think the only thing to embrace in grieving is the hope that time will perform its dirty magic. But that's infinitely hard. Because it's our longing for forgetting, and more loss.

The willow is so lovely on that stone. I'm sorry that Louisa had such a short life. I hope it was a sweet one. Thank you for honoring her, Jason. :)

Bobbi said...


They call to us from the depth of past
Breathless family, friends and foes
Gone away from earthly days
Existing in barren calm

What would they say, if they could speak to us
Would they approve of this harsh new world
Or would they happily blend with us
To capture the times gone by

I wonder if they understand
All the changes going on
Or are they fixed in time and space
Lifelessness n'er to age or grow

Familiar whispers on bated breath
Try to reach my ears
Cemetery voices from my distant past
Call to calm my fears

Geraldine said...

This was so touching to read. I love reading old gravestones, so much to ponder on many of them. And pain, what do we do about it in this life except cope? That's my plan so far...

Hugs, G

Aniket said...

Sometimes pain accompanies the sweetest of memories... and it is then when our smile steals away the attention from the lonely tears.
True pain is when we are left with nothing that claims a tear.

Karen said...

Age 25 years, 11 months, 25 days. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain endured by those she left behind. There is no way to embrace that.

McKoala said...

I find gravestones fascinating, so much said, and not said, in so few words.

Anonymous said...

Walking Man, that sounds a bit more like reveling in pain or seeking pain. I suppose the question is how hard do you fight to avoid it? Can you take that fight too far?

Catvibe, "embrace" in the sense of accept as an essential part of life and something to learn from. On the other hand, we could do everything in our power to avoid pain. Or we could strike a path somewhere in between. I do see that if pain, or fear of pain, is made into too great an enemy, life can become frozen and closed in.

Sarah, do we avoid and fight or do we accept and value the lesson? I don't know. Neither seems fully right to me.

Bobbi, I'm honored that you used this photo and post as a writing prompt! I especially like your closing lines. There is a strange comfort in these stones.

Geraldine, some of my favorite places are old cemeteries. :)

Aniket, that was beautifully said! Perhaps the first is the kind of pain we should embrace.

Karen, no, there isn't a way to embrace it. But then again, I hope the living weren't crippled by the pain. I hope they didn't shy away from life because they feared the pain of losing again.

McKoala, there have been times on vacation when I just had to pull over and check out some fascinating old cemetery. Weird, I know.

the walking man said...

You can't avoid what lays blocking the path, you have to pass through it to get to the other side Jason. The thing is not to stay with it like some folks do, making it a major marker in their life. Feel it, understand it and move beyond pain by accepting that it will do what it will do and I will do the same.

Catvibe said...

Aniket, your comment made me cry (a good tear)! Beautifully said dear Aniket.

Great thought provoking post Jason.

Aniket said...

I am so sorry for that Catherine... I honestly didn't mean to do that. I guess I was a bit lost too when I wrote that...

But you have an ability to read what is not written between the words... (Sarah and Aine have that too)

I always make it a point to read your interpretation of Jason and Sarah's writings. You always see through the mirror... May be someday, I'll learn to do so too.

Aine said...

Without death, there is no life. Without pain, there is no joy.

I guess I subscribe to the experience, accept, learn (if there is a lesson), and continue on (without being crippled) idea.

Aniket: :) You already do. Just not on command like they (Sarah and Catvibe) can, perhaps.... I bet you have many moments of insight and clarity which you may not be able to put into words. (Am I right?)

Aniket said...

See... this is what I was saying. The trio can so easily walk into my head as if it was a public park. :) :)

Frightful though it is (as it can put me into a vulnerable position some day... if they find out about my plans of world domination :) ), but this is so wonderful when you don't have to spell out everything to convey whats in your heart.

Am sure you know it a million times over by now, but you are one hell of a lucky guy Jason. :-D

Vesper said...

A weeping willow and a great love that counted years, months and days of the lost loved one...

Jennifer said...

Jason, this is a really difficult series for me. My grandmother, who was one of the most important people in my life, passed away at a time I could not get to her funeral because of a health issue with one of my children. She lived far away from me and last summer was the first time I had a chance to visit her grave. My children were with me (and my husband and mother and cousin) and on the way there, I kept saying to myself just hold it together, just hold it together. And of course I totally lost it. It wasn't just for the loss, which is profound, but because there is something about a gravestone--something so dignified. Maybe because it feels stoic and proper, holding itself up so straight and tall, with no words wasted on its face. We are pared down to our most important parts: loving wife, mother, grandmother, friend. And so part of why I lost it was that that gravestone had all of the dignity of my grandmother. And there is something really beautiful in that, something that this photo also captures.

Anonymous said...

The sleeping generations would tell us to quit wasting time, put away apathy, be nicer to one another, laugh more and remember that there is another side.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

i wonder what it is all about - life, death, sadness, pain...


Anonymous said...

Walking Man, a solid approach. Don't shy away. Endure it when it comes.

Catvibe, yeah, Aniket is channeling some dear and vital emotions.

Aniket, I think you too have a lot to offer.

Aine, Aniket is right. Your gifts shine brightly.

Vesper, I've seen the willow rendered much more simply. This one struck me.

Jennifer, I'm truly sorry to dredge those emotions. But what you said really rings true to me. Somehow, a gravestone can capture the enduring nobility in us.

Kat, I like that message.

Kaye, I think I'm very much with you in that. I wonder a good many things.