I recently spent a lot of time wandering through Iowa cemeteries looking for the grave markers of deceased ancestors. Sometimes cooperative relatives, friends, or random strangers helped and accompanied me. Sometimes I wandered alone.
Drizzle, breeziness, or sunshine, I frequently found myself not wanting to leave, even once I’d found the grave markers I’d been seeking. This surprised me, and I’ve wondered more than once why this was. These are sacred places, of course, and peaceful … but it also turns out I like and often admire these people. Frequently, I know some small part of their struggles. We have the luxury of idealizing their lives, but maybe that’s okay.
Are the dead sometimes better company than the living? Maybe. Certainly there’s a limit to what they can do to disappoint or annoy us, and in turn, to be disappointed or annoyed by us. They are, as so many grave markers proclaimed, “at rest.”