A Walk Down Cemetery Lane: A Post Mortem.



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.


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14 Comments A Walk Down Cemetery Lane: A Post Mortem.

  1. ReformingGeek

    Stone cold. Brrr.

    What a crazy job you had, working in a creaky old house with tombstones for a view.

    I loved the puns.

  2. Will

    Hi Lauren.
    I think in a job like that you can really get some strange and wacky requests.
    Anyway after a number of years in a job like that, every thing must leave you "Stonecold"lol.
    Anyway to me the nicest gravestones are found in Russia there the whole stone is a picture of the deceased ,i always liked the way they do things there (with the headstones,cause the rest isn't that great.lol)

  3. Jana

    Oh Lauren this post was as crazy if not more than the others before it. 'Tweets in stone'?
    Wildly interesting stuff.

  4. Paul Blanchard

    Good stuff, also enjoyed the creepy backstory. Also, you've got me thinking about some sort of stone-based twitter for the Old Testament generation…

  5. Me-Me King

    I love this post. In fact, I love it so much that I am sharing it with the world…Tweet, Tweet.

    Everybody must get stoned.–Bob Dylan

  6. Lauren

    RG: Thanks. The place was so dead I was able to write all day. Luckily, no sightings of plasma dripping down walls or interruptions of "go into the light."

    Will: I read the article. When I have time, I'll write a follow up. I'd like to see smiley faces on gravestones.

    Jana: Glad you liked it. As creepy as the place was, I had time to write the post about my experience.

    Paul: Love the way you think. Great idea!!!

    Me-Me: Thanks for the tweet. Gotta love the Bob. Great quote!!!

  7. JD at I Do Things

    Wouldn't it be fun if you could pick where you got to live as a ghost? Like maybe you'd have some sort of assigned ghostly tasks you'd have to perform, but you could choose the location. I think I'd have to go with a tropical beach, too. Man, those places must be packed with ghosts.

  8. Mrsblogalot

    Lauren, I loved this and you know, I think you might be on to something. Put me down for a neon green stone with an option for disco light. Maybe caption it with "there's more than one way to die"

    yeah, I can live with that.

  9. Lauren

    JD: Ha! With my luck, I'd be assigned to pulling dandelions, an impossible task even with the use of hands. I agree about beach haunts. Luckily, there'll be plenty of room as spirits will never bump into one another.

    Mrs. B: Love your caption as well as the neon green stone with disco light option. Perhaps, there should also be an after lifer's club for free spirits somewhere on the premises.

  10. Ryhen

    “Here lies a dead guy”
    “Beloved husband of who gives a shit.”
    “Our Loss. Hell’s gain,”

    ROFLMAO. Hey Lauren, I hope you don't mind, but I think I'm going to take note of these just to make sure that my loved ones will know what to put on my gravestone.

    Awesome post!!!

  11. Lauren

    Thanks, Ryhen. Go ahead. Take what you need. I'd be proud to know that my words will be written in stone.

    Will: Thanks so much. Love your links.

  12. Bonehead

    I've been told that I know a thing or two about all things stone. Not sure if it's because my head is as thick as a stone or I just appear stoned most of the time.


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