I came across a blog entry for a blog that I follow called Urban Gardens the other day that really made me want to go visit. It is a cemetery in Minnesota that is designed in such a way that preserves the environment and provides a chance for visitors to have quiet reflection. It is a beautiful space with interior and exterior spaces. I love walking through old cemeteries and looking at the old tombstones, but I often wonder if others actually visit their dearly departed in them. My father passed two years ago and since his plot is in Delaware, I have not been there since the funeral. That is not to say I don't miss him, but I "visit" in my own way.
Apparently according to some sites I looked at, death was viewed very differently by our most recent ancestors. Death and cemeteries in the Victorian times were visited quite often, I am told but could not find evidence to this fact online. Apparently, families would pack picnic lunches and have Sunday outings on their family plots. Perhaps it was a way to re-connect with their loved ones or just enjoy a nice outside day, although I am not sure people would do that now. Recently I did come across a bike tour of the West Laurel Hill Cemetery which actually looked kind of interesting. It was a way to view some of the more notable grave sites while riding your bicycle; something right up my alley.
Our superstitions on death and dying in America has loosened up a lot since the Victorian age, but we generally still have a problem with death, in my opinion. Our doctors still try to prevent it at all costs feeling as if losing a patient is a failure rather than a natural progression of life. I suppose since I have only lost my father and step-father, along with a few friends, maybe I am not really the person to judge on this topic, but I consider myself a realist and take death as part of life. We all have to go at some point and cemeteries are for the living more than the dead. I am glad there is at effort to make them a place to honor and reflect.