Friday, January 10, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 2

Visit A Crematorium or Graveyard. 

Not the top of my list.

On any day.  Especially at the end of a hot summer's day. 

Anderson Creek Cemetery - Victoria

But yesterday, my Beloved AND our two boys agreed to visit the graves of my grandparents, buried more than 20 years ago in one of the oldest cemeteries in Victoria, the Anderson Creek Cemetery. 

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my grandfather's passing, so I chose this author date to coincide with a day I wanted to mark with flowers and a reverent stop to remember them both. 

52 Dates For Writers reminds me the barest detail on a gravestone can move or intrigue us, or send a shiver down the spine. And from that inspiration, I am charged to turn my thoughts to my characters and the losses they've endured. The long held resentments and regrets which find voice on a death bed. How they grieve. How they recover. 

My grandparents are buried in the lawn cemetery at Anderson Creek. It doesn't look any different from year to year. But all around them, there's evidence of death and burials since the gates first opened in 1858. It was originally a monumental cemetery, but it's since expanded with dedicated lawn and bushland themes. 

The earliest graves are dotted along the boundaries. Long forgotten by family, I guess, but still present for those who care to linger and wonder. 

Who are the people forever lost behind a short wrought iron fence, under a weathered stone marker? Pioneers, who forged into the bush? Early gold seekers who fell to untimely disease or injury? 

And who stood at the foot of each grave to mourn, as we did when my grandparents died in the early 1990s? 

Did the first mourners return, year after year to dig away the weeds? To oversee the placement of headstones, carved with one final farewell? Did a mother's hem snag in the ornamental railing around the grave of her child, as surely as her heart snagged to leave it after each visit? 

And did they stand, like me, with the setting sun at their back, and draw deep eucalpyt scented breaths while the dust settled another layer over the graveyard? 

Wrapped beneath the remembrance of dearly loved grandparents, is the loss I ponder each year on this day. The loss of a tiny baby due to be mine, but lost too soon on January 10th, 1991. It doesn't have a grave, and so my Beloved and I have, on occasion, laid a flower on the grassy slope where the man who would have been its great grandfather lays... lost to us the very next day that same year. 

Did my author date tap into inspiration and emotion? More than I care to carry. But it's part of life as I know it, and part of life as I care to share it, as I shape my characters and their responses to the sorrows around them. 

When is the last time you visited a cemetery? Next week, you can be sure... I'll be searching the 52 author date list for a 'visit with a brass band and parade.'

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,