Magic Carpet Ride

Magic Carpets - only $500 over invoice!

Only $500 over invoice!

How we view the end of life is a reflection of how we view life itself  – it’s a question of perspective.

Those of you who have been around here a while may recall that a couple of years ago I became treasurer of our church cemetery, aka the Crypt Keeper.   There’s a surprising amount of work involved in keeping a cemetery going.  We have a couple of guys who go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure the place runs smoothly, but they can’t do everything.  We have professionals mow the grass and the expense of having that done every week in season is the bane of my financial existence.  It can’t be helped.  Few mourners want their loved ones laid to rest somewhere they’d need a machete to visit.  To accomplish the one-thousand-and-one other chores that must be done, however, we rely on parishioner volunteers to come out and help on our annual cemetery clean-up day.  That fun event took place recently.

The volunteers deserved double blessings this year since it was hot enough out there to fry an egg on Great Aunt Fanny’s tombstone.  In case that wouldn’t have been, you know, rather tacky.  Actually, it would be downright weird.  But I digress… Our sexton must consult Poor Richards Almanac, star charts and the Psychic Network so he can schedule clean-up day for the hottest day of the year. There’s no way it’s merely coincidence that that’s what it lands on every, single year.

I started out pulling weeds and rubbing Armor All on the big, plastic letters on the sign out front. After that, red as a lobster and drooping like grocery store roses the minute you get them home, I picked a job in the shed. There I found shade and, miracle of miracles, a fan.  I also found rolls of rugs leaning in the corner like it was Ali Baba’s Rug Bazaar.

They were bright, green area rugs made of AstroTurf.   You’ve probably seen these if you’ve ever been to a graveside service.   They’re laid over muddy spots in the ground so it’s easier for people to walk to the grave-site.  They’re also used to cover the grave, which workers dig ahead of time.

I unrolled the rugs one by one, got down on my hands and knees and brushed them with a stiff bristle brush to remove the caked-on mud and grass. Then I took them outside to shake and vacuum before rolling them back up and returning them to the corner, ready for their next appearance.  I was cogitating while I was agitating.

We veil the hole in the ground because that opening is a tough pit for most of us to look in.

It’s tough in that moment because someone we care about is gone, and death makes us sad.  It may be natural and expected if the deceased lived a good, long life, but we still grieve because we’re going to miss them.   If the person was young, or their passing was sudden or traumatic, the sadness of death can be almost unbearable.

Thinking about the dearly departed isn’t the only thing that bothers us when we look into an open grave, though.  That hole in the ground reminds us that this fate awaits every one of us.  As Shakespeare so elegantly said:

Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more.

Translation: Ain’t none of us getting out of this gig alive.

Most of us don’t like to think about this fact very much – I certainly don’t.  Death is the ultimate question.  It is THE big unknown and that makes the whole process rather scary.   When those fears strike me, I remind myself that this passage, this death, is a natural and inevitable part of life.   And if you believe in a merciful God, then eternal life with Him awaits us at the journey’s end.

It’s a matter of perspective.  Some look down at that green rug and see only the muddy remnants of sorrowful footsteps.   But the faithful see a magic carpet which will lift us up, soaring, on the ride of our lives.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This post is dedicated to heaven’s newest angel, my dear cousin, Moe.  Fly high, sweetie.  Soar!

Maureen Corrigan Milano 4/5/1966 – 9/26/2015 RIP

 

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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77 Responses to Magic Carpet Ride

  1. Elyse says:

    My sympathies for the loss of your cousin, Peg. But I love the idea of those rugs as a magic carpet. Because sometimes escaping these earthly bonds needs just that sort of magic.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Very nicely put. Sorry for the loss of you cousin.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Al says:

    Such a beautiful tribute, Peg. Typical of you mixing humor with sorrow, just like life itself does. I read the link and she certainly looked like a vibrant young lady, even while doing battle. Sorry for your and her family’s loss.

    Like

  4. franhunne4u says:

    Ouch, your cousin was just two years older than me – which made her 49. That is supposed to be mid-life territory. Very sorry to hear she has been called that early from this world.

    Like

  5. momshieb says:

    I love that you made us laugh at such a sad topic. I”m sorry about your cousin; so young and beautiful. Hope she has a magic carpet……

    Like

  6. VAVA says:

    sorry for the loss but this what the life is. The life is like a railway train which keeps on moving from one station to another , picking up a few nd dropping some others to their destination. If there is no passenger getting down, the train with so many people around will be suffocating . The system need to be continued to avoid suffocation. We may like or not , God has destined us to live our life as per His own system. God bless

    Like

  7. lexiemom says:

    Sorry for your loss, Peg.

    Like

  8. Sorry about your cousin. Lovely post – that mix of humor and poignancy you do so well.

    At the graveyard in our little village, volunteers do all the gardening too, they do it on a set Saturday morning every few weeks, they all turn up, work hard to cut the grass and dig and trim and cut everything that needs digging and trimming and cutting all morning, and then share a picnic lunch together, and they’re done, so it’s a nice little social gathering for them too.

    Like

  9. dmswriter says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss, Peg.

    Like

  10. lisaspiral says:

    sorry for your loss.

    Like

  11. Moe was so young! There’s no fairness in the world. But like other commenters, I like your idea of a magic carpet lifting up the departed. It’s a beautiful thought.

    Like

  12. I am so very sorry about your loss, Peg. Your words are very comforting. Even though it’s the Big Unknown we are all in this together. Big hugs to you.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      We ARE all in this together, aren’t we? If there was no death, there wouldn’t be room on this earth for all the precious, new babies that we so like to make.

      Thanks for the kind words, Toots.

      Like

  13. Daddy Bear says:

    I’m sorry your cousin has left you. I hope you stored up enough precious memories to hold you until you meet again.

    BTW: you said, “Death is the ultimate question.” For those of us mere inches away from the banana peel, I can tell you that will change. For me, death is the ultimate answer…

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  14. I’m not being sarcastic (this time). Is there a power struggle involved with cemetery plots? Are some locations more favorable than others and will the living try to politic for the best area while they’re still around to argue? Is there a plot against some plots?

    It’s all too much Sturm und Drang for me. Burn me up and throw my ashes off the observation deck of the Empire State Building.

    +10 points for quoting The Bard. The common thread that runs through all religions is that they’re convinced they know, beyond any doubt, as their faith tells them, EXACTLY what happens to you after you die. They’re stories made up to comfort the living. Nobody really knows. How could we? Life’s biggest unsolved mystery. Unfortunately, there’s only one way to find out for sure.

    All good wishes to you and your family. I’m sorry for your loss. She was too young.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I think there ARE preferred neighborhoods and slums at big cemeteries, but ours is too small to be segregated that way. My husband wants “The fool on the hill” on his tombstone, which creates a dilemma since our cemetery is flat. May have to inspect the plots available at the Jewish cemetery.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Death itself, I don’t fear. But the pain that I have to go through before it happens, that I am scared of. That’s why probably one of my worst nightmares is to be captured and tortured. Another is to have an accident that will leave me crippled or paralyzed. If I die, I want a swift painless peaceful death. Preferably happens while I’m asleep.

    Like

  16. Margie says:

    How wonderful that you are involved with your Cemetery!
    My husband is on the Cemetery Committee of the very rural cemetery where his mom is, and it has helped our whole family become more comfortable with the inevitable. Rural folks are much more matter of fact about the whole thing, compared to much of today’s society.

    Like

  17. Carrie Rubin says:

    So sorry to hear about your cousin. She was quite young. Good of you to help out keeping the cemetery clean. I’m sure the opportunity does indeed invite a little reflection.

    Like

  18. Awe, sorry about your cousin. She was too young. I thought magic carpet was going to be something more lady parts related, if I may be so blunt. What? Too soon? Lol. Sorry again…for everything now.

    Like

  19. Beautifully written, and incredibly touching and soooo true! And your cousin, like my mother in my post Olga from a few weeks ago, was far too young to take that magic carpet ride. I am so very sorry for you and your family… 😦 But we see through a glass darkly and only seen in part right? But then I shall know just as I am known – like Moe does now. 🙂

    As you know, when it’s all said and done, our time here is but a few heartbeats. The years fly by exponentially as we age don’t they? Let’s make the most of the time we have left and really live and make a difference in the world!

    Thank you for the wonderful post!

    Like

  20. susielindau says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your cousin. Cancer sucks. When someone dies of that disease, it hits me really hard. It’s as if we’re on the same team even if we haven’t met. Sending prayers.

    Like

  21. Libby says:

    You’re making me tear up at work!! Moe sure was a person of courage and sunshine for all of us.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Sunshine – you nailed it exactly, Lib. Lots of people can smile easily, and you know how I love to goof around. But with Moe, that mega-watt smile was a true reflection of inner joy and sunshine which she had probably more of than any other person I can think of.

      Like

  22. Beautiful, Peg. You have such a talent weaving pictures in my brain through the words you choose. I can see Moe lounging on an exquisite flying carpet, champagne in hand, radiant smile on her face, light all around her. Well, I added champagne, but, hey, poetic license. Hugs!

    Like

  23. My sincere condolences on the loss of Moe. Yes, the hole that is left in our hearts when someone dies is painful for sure. And my knowing someone who died and came back and has shared their experience with me, knowing that death is not the end, but just a transition in state, only mitigates the pain a little bit.

    I’ve been fortunate to have a spiritual center not too far from where I live, where I’ve had several short classes in things like communicating with spirit. And please know that when you think of Moe, she hears you and is around you. I contacted my Dad shortly after he died, and when the message of, “Woo hoo! I’m free!!!” came into my head, I confirmed it with about 3 other people I know who are talented mediums, that I wasn’t making it up. I was Dad.

    Be gentle with yourself during this time of grief.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      What a lovely thought, that your Dad felt free from the pain of life. Thanks for the kind words and good reminder.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually, he was free of a body that had been wracked with pain because of living with cancer for years. But he was also free of having to take care of my mentally ill mother, to whom he was married for 50 years. That lovely job fell to me (and somewhat to my 2 brothers) after Dad’s death.

        Like

  24. Dana says:

    I’m so sorry for your, and your family’s loss. Sending love! ♡

    The Queen Of Heaven cemetery near me has riding mowers, that make taking care of the lawns much easier. (I think I remember hearing that Al Capone was buried there.)

    Like

  25. What a lovely idea that we can take a magic carpet ride from this world to the next. I’m sorry for your loss, Peg. I hope Moe is flying high.

    PS – I never thought about how much work goes into maintaining a cemetery. There is a beautiful old cemetery near me that dates to the early 1800s. They recently replaced/repaired those old headstones. That must have been quite a task.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      It used to be that people paid maintenance every year for the graves of their families, at least at our cemetery. Now all the people who would have paid have either moved away or died. With new graves, perpetual care is included in the price, but the old ones still have to be taken care of.

      There’s a really old cemetery near us that has fallen into disrepair – lots of trees down, etc. They just don’t have the money to keep it up any more.

      Way too much information, eh?

      Like

  26. My condolences on Moe’s passing, she looks like a pistol.

    When I was a kid, before astroturf showed up anywhere outside of stadiums, new graves were covered with plywood and mounds of flowers from the service. I never paused until now, to wonder what covered the graves of people who passed without significant amounts of memorial wreaths and other floral arrangements.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Interesting question. I don’t usually send flowers because many people get more than they need, and it always seems to me that the death of the flowers in a couple days in another, little loss. But I’ll send them if I don’t think the deceased will have many mourners so the place doesn’t look so lonely.

      Like

  27. Dr. George Richart says:

    Thanks for the great post. Peg!!Mom and I enjoyed it !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. mollystevens2015 says:

    Your post reminded me that my father was overseer for my home town’s graveyard for several years. He applied weed and feed, mowed, trimmed and had it looking like a magic carpet….in the summer at least. He made his own vault and buried it so his urn would have a proper resting place, meaning, things would be done right. What remains of him and Mom are in that graveyard today. But of course they rode off into the celestial sunset on LL Bean water hogs (because in Maine magic carpets are a bit impracticle.) Condolences on loss of your beautiful cousin Moe.

    Like

  29. Sandy Sue says:

    I’m sorry about Moe, Peg. Your family has taken a lot of hits. No wonder you ponder the eternal.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I assume everyone ponders the eternal at some point or the other, but maybe that’s just me being melancholy. I really like that word. Depression is a clinical thing, and I don’t believe I have that, but sometimes I feel melancholy.

      Thanks, Sandy.

      Liked by 2 people

  30. Lynn says:

    I am so sorry for your loss Peg. I love your idea of a magic carpet ride! I hope your beautiful loved one is soaring among the stars:)

    Like

  31. So sorry for the loss of your cousin. She looks way too young. Yes, death is mysterious. My Dad died less than three months ago and grief is slowly sinking in. Its taken a while mostly because the concept of never seeing my Dad again is too immense. Still, like you write, its something we all must face someday. Scary but true.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I’m sorry for your loss. I think you’re right that grief takes time to catch up to us. At first we’re numb and busy, and then the finality of it strikes. I hope your good memories are a comfort.

      Like

  32. I am sorry Peg. It isn’t easy, ever. Your memorial was sweet and loving, how I suspect all of us would wish our carpet to be fueled.

    Like

  33. Pingback: Does Everything Happen for a Reason? | Shallow Reflections

    • pegoleg says:

      Thank you so much for the lovely compliment. I am terribly sorry about your cousin’s passing. How strange that we have had the same experiences – losings siblings and just losing cousins. I hope things start looking up for you.

      Like

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