I have always loved walking around graveyards. Now, your first reaction to this may be to think how very morbid, but whilst there may be a slight element of this, it is not really the case. Growing up in the middle of a busy town, one of the few places where we could go for walks away from the traffic and the monotonous sights of man-made structures, was the sprawling, tree-filled expanse of the nearby Polish War Cemetery.
When I was very small it was just a safe place to burn off excess energy – as long as we didn’t run over the graves or disturb any mourners (this respect was always drummed into us). As I grew older, however, I began to look at the gravestones themselves and I began to wonder about the people buried there.
I now live in a village with only a small graveyard around the church, but I still like to wander among the graves, read the worn writing and wonder.
Who were they?
What did they do during their lives?
Who did they love?
Who did they hate?
Who mourned at their passing?
Who celebrated their lives?
All I ever have are unanswered questions and my own imaginings, but I am happy with this. Maybe someday I’ll look into some of the names I find on the stones – the historian side of me whispers of local archives and family histories – but I think that if I ever start to look into any family history, I probably ought to make it my own!