Wondering and Wandering in a Cemetery

Perhaps it’s my age…approaching 76 as this is written. Or my heritage…Irish Catholic. Or my curiosity about people…living or deceased.

Regardless of the reason, I enjoy the peacefulness of walking around a cemetery on a sunlit spring, summer or fall day. It’s not a sad experience for me. Rather, it’s not uncommon for me (if there’s no one else around…and normally there isn’t) to speak aloud to my parents, my brother, my niece, my grandparents and others who have been important to me one way or another in my life.

Also, if time allows, I occasionally amble around and read a few tombstones of folks whom I’ve never met. Recently I just did that on a visit to my hometown.

Following are some random thoughts I experienced wondering as I wandered, coming perhaps a bit poetically:

Wondering: why she died so young?

And why he lived so long?

And what he did for a living?

And what made her smile?

And what made him cry?

The marker says, ‘Rest in Peace.’ We say it, but what does it really mean?

They are dead. They died before I was born.

But as I wander past their graves and read their names, I call their names aloud.

I feel connected. But I do not know them.

I hope they can see me. And hear me call their names. And hope that makes them smile.

I wonder as I wander. And slowly walk away. And I wish them well. And smile.

This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at Those Catholic Men.


Bill Sheridan and his wife Renee live in the Des Moines suburb of Johnston. God has blessed them with three terrific sons, two awesome daughters-in-law, and two of the coolest grandsons on planet earth. As a young man he taught English and Speech at St. Edmond Catholic High in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Following that ten-year career, he experienced gigs as an insurance and investment advisor, sales manager, and eventually trainer for two major life insurance companies. He retired in 2009. Through all those years he has been a freelance writer and author. Bill enjoys sharing his Catholic faith by speaking and writing about his departure from, and return to, Mother Church.

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