Whenever 1 am abroad on holiday, I like to visit the local cemetery. The hotelier usually stares in amazement when I ask directions, often thinking I mean the beach. Usually with a shrug of his shoulders he sends the "peculiar English lady" on her Way.
I confess that I look upon the cemetery rather like a park. I go there for peace and quiet meditation — to allow the beauty of the surroundings to enter my restless soul and soothe my disquietened mind. The roar of the _jet, the sickening smell of exhaust fumes, the babble of human voices — all are drowned in the wave of solitude. And when I am mentally refreshed, I walk amongst the joyous resting places.
On each grave is placed a photograph — always a happy photograph. It is perhaps a wedding portrait, a family gathering; a brave fresh faced young soldier who died for his country; a youngi curly-headed child hugging its favourite toy.
The family concerned have felt the pains of bereavement, suffered the agony of losing a loved one, but they choose to remember with happiness; to look upon the loved one's smiling face as they pay their humble tribute.
I do so wish we would remember, with happiness, in our English cemeteries. For most people associate cemeteries with sadness; places of gloom and depression. They make a yearly pilgrimage with flowers to mark an anniversary and shed their tears in private. With heads bowed they hurry about their business, and sigh with relief when duty is dune.
Bereavement is an experience so personal, so deep, that it cannot be shared. The person left to grieve is locked in a world of darkness, of lonely sorrow. But as Christian believers they know that this is only a temporary state. Faith in God will in time heal the running sore of grief, and gently help them to adjust to a new life.
So, it is quite understandable that cemeteries sometimes revive unpleasant memories and bring about unashamed tears.
But if only the mourner would lift his eyes from the stoney pathway; there is neauty so behold. Yes, true beauty all around.