If a headstone falls
in a cemetery, does it make a sound?
First Posted July, 2009
Only a medium with a reliable spirit source could answer such a question. Unfortunately, most ghosts are flighty, show up unannounced, and leave cold spots on the living room rug. If I were a ghost, I wouldn’t even hang out in a cemetery; I would haunt a five-star hotel in Cozumel.
Lately, death has been on my mind because I’ve been temping at a headstone company. It’s been dead. – Couldn’t resist – Quiet as a tomb.
No ghosts so far. This isn’t a rest stop for spirits. It’s more like a weigh station for words, tweets in stone, as it were. Just the bereaved visit here to create a lasting memorial for a loved one and to ensure the cemetery marker is prominent enough to find amid a gaggle of graves.
Traveling down the wrong path in life is an inconvenience. In death, a lost soul would have an impossible task negotiating his way down a graveyard path to locate his headstone, unable to distinguish one from the next among all the clichéd inscriptions like “Here lies a dead guy” or “Beloved husband of who gives a shit.” I think gravestone captions should be more insightful, like “Our Loss. Hell’s gain,” or “She would never shut up until now.”
I never realized how many expressions incorporated the word “stone” and that their meanings could be interpreted in many different ways.
Expressions such as . . .
Just a stone’s throw away – Horrible method of measurement for a stone the size of Mount Rushmore.
Nothing is written in stone – A pad and pen are more convenient to carry around in a purse.
Leave no stone unturned – OCD person’s greatest nightmare.
You can’t draw blood from a stone – First Medical Journal abstract.
Man, am I stoned – Villager having rocks thrown at him for being high.
A rolling stone gathers no moss – Just add Crazy Glue and the moss will stick.
Most stones found in yards are dull and colorless, which is also true of headstones. They are so gray and dreary-looking and add nothing to a cemetery’s ambiance, already lacking vibrant décor. Perhaps something whimsical, like a lawn jockey or gnome would make a cemetery more appealing. Colorful yard statues would eliminate the problem and stress of locating a family plot, while providing a more festive-setting for graveside eulogies. Improving a cemetery’s surroundings may even encourage a ghost to hang out there, instead of popping in and out on a loved one at home.
However, neither scenario would appeal to me. My afterlife itinerary would not include a family haunt-getaway or a scenic cemetery stroll. I’d rather spend eternity vicariously sipping Mai Tais on the beaches of Cozumel.
A little backstory: the headstone company was located in an old house with a living room (really), where I sat behind a large mahogany desk answering the five phone calls I had all week. If I turned around to admire the scenery outside the window, I would see a small yard filled with headstones. I had to climb squeaky stairs in order to get to the bathroom on the second floor. Really, really creepy. One of the phone calls I fielded was from a woman concerned that her gravestone wouldn’t be done in time for her family to see when they visited her in the fall. She wasn’t dying. She was just prepared for the worst.