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From the Grave to the Grave

By Norman Turrell

From the Grave to the Grave

Elizabeth Maramay, 1906 to 1946 : She lives with us in memory and will ever more
Elizabeth's grave was a odd place for my mother to give birth to me. She was gypsy folk and they have strange ways, I am told. The faded paper with the headstones inscription is the only thing I have from her, written with such care. No apologies for passing my new born body on to its family to be, or love offered for my life ahead. I wonder about her sometimes, but don't feel lost or angry. She must have passed now. I would liked to have known where she was lain to have visited her there.

Henry Gareth, 1878 to 1905 : No pain can reach our loved one here
My adoptive parents were kind and they didn't succeed in their efforts to talk me out of my solitary graveyard journeys. It wasn't the note that started it, I felt a comfort in these places even at an early age. Was eight young to start a diary? My first entry, Henry Gareth, with my mothers note carefully taped to the first page. It wasn't a collectors hobby, I didn't want to log all the stones I saw, just those that seemed to call to me while I ran and played between them. I often visited Henry, Uncle Henry, laughing as I made up the stories for him to tell me on those warm Summer days.

Edith Hanney, 1943 to 1960 : Step softly, a dream lies buried here
Edith, so young. It was her I was with, not Louise. Louise found me in the graveyard one day when I was around eighteen. She thought I was a Goth because of my fascination with the places of the dead. Not that I said much to her, she didn't seem to need much encouragement. Louise was on top of me and we were both on top of Edith's place of rest. I read her headstone upside down as Louise got on with her business. I remember closing my eyes and imagining beautiful Edith, our bodies so sweet and youthful, entwined as one. I will never forget you, my first love.

Joshua Greaves, 1806 to 1873 : Peaceful sleep
I certainly didn't love Louise, but she was pregnant and we were tied. After the registry office signing she wanted a midnight ceremony at the graveyard. When she suggested Edith's place I made an uncharacteristic scene and she backed down. So, by his headstone, Joshua witnessed our joining. I imagined him, straight laced, looking very fine and proud. Louise made some speech about the night and spirits. I thanked Joshua for attending us and remember she thought that was cool. It was a year later she left me. I don't know where she is now or feel any loss for my little son. The living never held much interest for me.

Alan Devon, 1929 to 1959 : What we keep in memory is ours unchanged forever
I travelled for some years around the country, severing the few ties I had, leaving my parents behind. I managed to find odd jobs here and there, always searching out the cemeteries. I took note of Alan as it turned out that he was the person that brought me my greatest luck. Arnold found me there, removing Alan's withered flowers and putting in some fresh. Arnold visited me every day and seemed happy to talk as I went about the silent attendance of my friends. He was the official gravekeeper and took me in. Living together in the little cottage on the grounds, I took care of him as the years passed, as I took care of all that resided here. Where you find me now, my home.

Michael Brand, 1940 to 1980 : Your fight is over, now sleep
It was midnight when I heard noises, shouting. I often stayed up late, Arnold early to bed. There had always been some late visitors, fence jumping teenagers, but they were generally well behaved, some giggling, some pants and moans. This sounded different. Outside the cottage, with my flashlight, I wound down the path, the spotlight at my feet so I didn't tread on any slugs or worms. There was a fire framing dark silhouettes in an orange glow. Three stood around two who were close to each other. I pointed my torch towards them and it reflected off the knives in their hands. They were on Michael's grave. I don't remember the details, I woke in hospital, Arnold there, holding my hand. It was weeks before the wounds healed. They said I was very lucky. I don't know.

Arnold Branch, 1920 to 2007 : In death I will love you more
Arnold was the first I knew from life to travel to the ground. He loved me. I can love him now and thank him for providing me the opportunity to remain here to take on the duties I always did by choice. I hope I at least brought him some peace. The grounds are small which made it easy to manage on my own. I learnt a lot about gardening, there is a lot to know to keep this place nice. When the wind blows I always think the trees, gently swaying at the entrance, are hushing the visitors as they enter. Do you think that? I think it is the most beautiful place I have seen, but perhaps I am biased, because of Emily.

Emily Young, 1860 to 1914 : To live in the hearts of those we love is to never die
I don't know why Emily chose me. I brought her roses the first time I changed her flowers and every day after. When I sat with her an urge took me to talk. It is not my way to talk and I only do so to you now because I must. I told her of all the lives I imagined for the buried. She made me happy as the years passed. At night, when the weather allowed, I slept beside her. Time and the ground between us was gone. In all my life I never felt alive, but with you... I love you with all my heart Emily. I am so happy I have a place beside you now my time is here.

Matthew Folkstone, 1963 to 2041 : Rest in peace
My days are done and I, Matthew Folkstone, with these last breaths, to those that listen and write for me, have told the tale of my life. To all my many friends who lie quiet in their graves, those many who I have known over the years, I hope we will find new friendship in the time that lies ahead of us. I thank you all for being such good companions, seeing me through the long years while I waited to join you. I hope that some of the living will visit us, think of us, keep us alive as our bodies fade to dust.


This page was amended on 15/12/2011

Comments

I find this amusing because I too used to visit graves and chat to people when the living were being so cruel i would ask for their help and support. I would change the flowers and a couple of villagers got excited that their in-laws finally cared. I had to confess it was me. I got some odd looks. So I can empathize with the author to some degree yet true empathy could never exist.

From Julie
04.05.2013 12:36:35
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