Those Who Have Gone Before Us

We walk in the steps of those who have gone before us!

Once a year this happens, and once it does, fall is over and winter is here. The time I’m talking about is the day when a combination of wind and rain literally “knocks the leaves off the trees” and there remains a gray and dreary landscape. What may have been mildly colorful foliage the day prior is now replaced by a pall of nothingness… and the cold creeps into your bones in the same manner that it now chills the freshly exposed branches and limbs of now barren trees.

This is the onset of winter, the first day of it, and whether or not anyone is ready for it, this will be “it” until the first green emerges sometime next spring. A day such as this is likely to provide fertile soil for the seeds of discontent and dismay to flourish in. People tend to get depressed,winter-rain possibly moody… more often than not, they will also take on the chill of winter and remain cold and distant, despondent, until springtime. Today was that day, the wind blew and cold hard raindrops fell! Winter is here– and I could care less. Why? Because just last month, I visited a lovely cemetery, and was thus buoyed and encouraged for the remainder of the season.

I have made no secret regarding my usual, or to some– my UNusual practice of hanging out in cemeteries. To me, the whole thing has very little to do with the actual dying process, or even of having thoughts relating to death. Rather, the entirety of it is rooted more in a bit of inner reflection, albeit one in a predominantly pensive state of mind. But, let’s not get diverted by emotions that may trail along, behind, and about us.

Graveyards are terrifically serene places. They keep the grass cut pretty regular, and there are usually some nice trees. Maybe there is a nice mausoleum or marble looking chapel. This is all very relaxing and the places are hardly ever crowded; unless there is a big to-do, or possibly a funeral… Even if you happen to be in one of them during a funeral, it will be your luxury to view the affair from a safe distance, physically and mentally. Perhaps, even if you attend a funeral, there is no need for the usual outpouring or even of the feeling of bereavement, as this should have already taken hold and had its awful effects in the preceding days. Accordingly, you might then be able to more “enjoy the moment” as it were, and get to work on vanquishing those inner demons!

I have found that for me, a 1-2 minute moment of halfway controlled grief next to the coffeepot while at the funeral parlor is an exquisite place and time to demonstrate feelings of loss and funeralabandonment. I may or may not then shed a few tears, add 3-4 cubes of sugar to the coffee, and continue moving on with my life. After that, what else is there really, except that one person who prefers to make their grief a public spectacle? We all know that “one person”… the bucket ‘o tears, cry on everyone’s shoulder funeral attendee. Really? Stay at home and cry… why ruin it for everyone else?

*As a side note and by the way, these loud and obnoxious wailers for the dead are among the worst that walk the planet, and their genuine interest in being the ones pitied, at someone else’s goddam funeral, and is proof enough for me that they deserve zero pity, even when it is their turn in the coffin.

But, back to the open air of the cemetery.

There is no reason why cemeteries should not be the “go to” place for quiet self-reflection. I have thought much on the matter, and have whittled it down to Adlerian Theory.[1] Simply put, we all need encouragement, and when we surround ourselves with those able to provide that stimuli, we often perform at our best!


What better encouragers than those who have gone before us? These folks have already run their race, and as such, are locked in the cold hard ground. By their dead situation they can do nothing other than offer encouragement to ANY who still breathe air. The lifeless forms beneath the withered grass are the greatest cheerleaders known to mankind mainly because they can no longer detract from those still living.

Oh, I’m sure that while some of them were alive, they might have made disparaging remarks, and been less than kind to their co-workers. However, with death as the great equalizer, these assholes are now in quite a predicament, and even if they could talk, no one would hear! There is just too much in the way of physics against the dead. Add it all up– the sewn up jaws, the sealed casket, the vault, the 3-4 feet of earth above the lid of said vault… nobody could hear them even IF they could talk and even IF they had a megaphone. In EST, and by proxy, the dearly departed are now bastions of encouragement… no one can do any worse… unless they die as well!

And so it goes, the living are encouraged to continue with their lives. To add to the victory, there are a LOT of cemeteries that are so old and ornate and cover such grand real estate, that they henry-clay-monument-andmight as well be a fucking National Park, and charge admission. But, they DON’T. Essentially, if you choose wisely and frequent a well-established (and possibly first class populated- famous people die too) cemetery, you will be getting first rate bang for your buck. Park the car, get out, and walk around a bit. Enjoy the atmosphere. It is all for you, all for the living… so that we will remember and ponder our affinity for life. Remember, we are still ahead of the game…

At first glance, we think that we could be miserable, and maybe we are. But, according to those who have gone before us– according to those who have already lost everything they had to lose in this life, we are still firmly in the black, winning at every corner, breathing air… blah, blah, and blah.[2] We are encouraged… I am encouraged, and if I listen, and whether I like it or not… I am re-energized.

We must walk in the steps, while staying ahead of the shadows, of those who have gone before us!

[1] (Adler Graduate School 2016)

Adler Graduate School. 2016. Alfred Adler: Theory and Application. Accessed November 20, 2016.


[2] My Word 2013 has started requesting that I place an Oxford Comma where one is needed, I suppose from habit and that it must know that I hold that punctuation in high regard… I consider this to be an achievement of sorts.