As for me, I’m at minimum a skeptic and at most a complete non-believer. That’s probably a very good thing considering I live next door to a cemetery.
I have plenty of stories to share, but they have nothing to do with an apparition rising from the grave to haunt the neighborhood. My stories, instead, are tales of interesting things I’ve observed and experiences I’ve had as a next-door neighbor of the deceased.
I must admit when we bought our house I did take pause for just a moment about the prospect of living next door to to a graveyard.
My daughter, who was just 10 years old at the time, had an especially difficult time with it. It took a great deal of comforting to convince her that it would be alright, but we managed to calm her fears. It wasn’t long before she was advising me that we were about to get a “new neighbor” each time a grave was being dug.
Over the years I’ve had a number of experiences that created cause for a chuckle afterward.
Shortly after we moved into the house I was inside minding my own business, unaware that a graveside service was taking place. A 21-gun salute for a fallen veteran caused me to hit the floor of my kitchen in fear when the rounds were fired. I didn’t know whether to run or go hide in a closet. Imagine my relief when I realized what was taking place!
On another occasion our very friendly Labrador Retriever decided to attend graveside services, while licking and smelling everyone in attendance. I learned of it from a family member of the deceased after the fact and apparently no one there was angered by his joining in to say goodbye to their loved one.
I’ve also observed people who have very unique ways of honoring a loved one. During a walk through the cemetery on a beautiful autumn day a few years back, I saw two women take a blanket from their trunk and a pizza box and cooler from their back seat. They sat down on the ground and proceeded to have dinner. Each pass by them I would smile, trying not to stare.
One of the women finally looked at me and said, “I bet you think we are crazy, don’t you?”
I answered with as good of a “no” as I could muster. The women explained that on the birthday of their deceased sister each year, they came to the grave site to have dinner with her. I was touched by the fact they had upheld the tradition for many years.
I’ve only been frightened by something I’ve observed one time. On an unusually warm Christmas morning a few years back I took another walk in the cemetery only to find a man slumped over the wheel of his car.
After a somewhat frantic call to 911, I learned he had pulled over into the drive sometime overnight to take a nap and still hadn’t awakened. A paramedic found him still sleeping when he responded to my call. The sleeping man was awakened and sent on his way.
If like me, you are skeptical when it comes to ghosts, a cemetery is a great neighbor.
The residents are quiet, the lawn is kept mowed and tidy and visitors to the neighborhood are always respectful. n