I needed to pick up a few things from the grocery store, so this morning after coffee I took a walk. Along my route to town there is a beautiful church, and although this may sound odd, I like to walk through the graveyard. I love to look at the old, well cared for headstones. The dates are mind boggling, and the names seem so foreign. My creative mind fabricates stories of the lives these people must have lived, and someday they will most certainly be characters in a novel. Today, however, something stopped me dead in my tracks. From one of the graves, I could see steam rising. A lot of steam. And when I got closer I noticed a large chrome coffin-shaped heater. The visual was eerie and there was a distinct musky, earthy odor emitted with the steam. I had never thought about how a burial is possible in the frozen grounds during a Norwegian winter. But now I know. First the the graveside is heated, then they can dig. I continued along my regular path to town, but could not shake the grave image from my mind. With my nose turned up at the thought of the lingering smell, I began contemplating my own final resting place. Is this cemetery, my destiny? A chill swept over my body as the thought of being alone in this cold ground passed through my head. Then I remembered a poem…
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave bereft
I am not there. I have not left. -Mary Elizabeth Frye 1932
I continued thinking, if I am not there, why should I worry? Why should snow covered angels stand watching over the non-existing me? And why should someone maintain my grave site? I do not want to be buried. Instead, spread my ashes over my favorite beach in the warmth of the sun and watch the seagulls play as they carry me away. If loved ones need a place to sit with me when I am gone, they can find me on the beach. But wait! How will I become a character in someone´s novel?