Proximity to a cemetery has been making me think a lot more about those who have gone before. What you're looking at is actually the back half of this cemetery, an annex for the original cemetery on the other side. That one is quite old. The oldest grave was dug during the Republic of Texas. A few days back, I took the Despoina for a walk and we visited some of Austin's most important families: Bergstroms, Bartons, Zilkers... We didn't get over to the Littlefields. We didn't make it over to Mrs. Dickinson, either. You would think that the infant graves would be the saddest part of the place but, for me, it was the big plots bought so long ago with the intention of having a large family all resting together, but only having two or three graves within. I found that quite sad for reasons I can't entirely explain.
It's also had me thinking about my past again. I've done research into this before with some results. It's somewhat easy since my grandfather and great grandfather are buried about 50 yards from one another. As for my great great grandfather well, I've found out that he's buried in a cemetery outside of Gonzalez, Texas. The catalogs of headstones don't list him since maybe ten or so are still readable, but one of those readable ones is his daughter. I think I might drive down there one Saturday and see if I can find it. I don't see roads on the maps leading to it, but there's got to be a way there. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to get farther back than that. Born around 1850 in Georgia, I'm pretty sure he was born a slave. That would be hard to track down and I'm not sure I need to know all that.
I never get over the irony that I bear the name of a man who I never shared a drop of blood with. In fact, those who have been the most important people in my life have a tendency of not being consanguineous. Blood only means what you let it. And one day, when the Despoina is asking questions, I think I'll have to explain that to her. Maybe if will make the bond between us that much less in her eyes. Maybe it will make it that much more. Despite my own tendency to shy away from my own blood, I chose her. I choose to stay when at any moment I could drop it all and walk away. I choose to sleep less, labor more and watch over her, knowing that she may never know or understand what I have done. I choose to carry that weight, knowing that there is no knowing what may come of it all.
And maybe one day a child will point to a stone with my name on it and ask with curiosity to hear about their grandfather. Or great grandfather. Or great great grandfather.
All I can know for sure is that one day, I'll be joining all of those names and stones. It is the way of things. And I'm alright with that.
And that's all I have to say about that.
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