A cemetery can haunt you.
I visited two days ago and I cannot get that place out of my mind. I’m processing…well, the meaning of life and death, I guess. I certainly want to do more research and go back and spend some more time.
As I alluded to in yesterday’s post, Stanley was not the only one I went to visit at St. Stanislas’ Cemetery.
A quick gaze around the front of the cemetery makes one think it is a small, quaint place. I began to realize, this place was populated with names I knew. Well, names I “knew.” Mostly the entire cemetery was Polish names, names I knew from buildings, Starzyk, or shops, Kulig, or Babu’s diaries. My mind lit on fire over the idea of how many people I could and probably would find here.
And, of course, there were a few I had also come here to visit.
I began walking through and I learned the cemetery is truly deceiving. Built in concentric hills, it’s easy to think the place is smaller than it is. In reality, the place is massive. Once you walk the rise of the first hill you see it. As I walked through I found more and more familiar names, and names repeated, scattered, and saw cul-de-sac after cul-de-sac, I started to become conflicted in my feelings about my little afternoon jaunt. I saw the name Janik and I looked for Adele. I did not find her there. But didn’t she get married? I see the name Wrzesien and I look for Walter, I look for Lech but I don’t find it. And I’m looking for Zosh. I’m not even sure this is the cemetery she is buried in.
Although I saw many familiar names, here was the only one I think I can pinpoint to Babu’s diaries so far. There is a John Adamczyk I will post about in a few days. This certainly could be him.
When I went there to see Stanley’s grave, my feelings were easy. I am honoring a memory so it’s a beautiful thing, not a tragic one. Besides, so much time gives plenty of distance. Now I am walking and scanning, thinking back through years of her diaries, the list of names I look for is growing and growing.
It begins to get overwhelming.
Then I realize.
I am very far from my car and I left it open. I left the key in it. I begin to panic, I have walked so far and I didn’t even know it. I can’t even see my car. And although I saw not one other person when I showed up, the place is more populated now.
No one would steal a car from a cemetery, right?
When I got to my car I realized my purse is right on the passenger seat and the car. is. still. running.
I get in and sit.
Not at all winded.
It was like I had been transported for a while.
Being there was very exciting and I hope that does not seem morbid or inappropriate in any way. I realized there is so much history and beauty in this place, and all places like this. I was feeling guilty for not feeling a little bit sad, but I was feeling a bit sad. Does that make sense? I decided I may as well roll the car further ahead and get myself to where I was going. This place I had been to before and knew vaguely where it was. When I found it I was relieved. The place looked relatively kept together. We should be here more making it look nicer. I know.
I was mortified to find this:
So I did the best I could with only my bare hands.
I can’t stop thinking about that tree. Was it planted there for them? Did they get to choose that plot because it was by a tree? Or was it just coincidence? That tree is so Babci and Dziadziu. It’s beautiful. Everything about this plot was thoughtful. Mushrooms for Dziadziu, the times he spent wandering the woods harvesting them, using them in borscht, flowers for Babci, she loved to work the dirt into beauty. Thoughtful even in how far ahead it was planned…