Walking into this Spring Grove experience, I was completely neutral. I didn't feel one way or the other toward this place or any cemetery for that matter. I didn't really expect much but to learn facts about a place. It ended up being much more than that. My original cemetery walk-throughs were nothing but a business oriented trip. As I said before I would come into the cemetery to see the person who I was visiting, and then I would leave.
To tell you the truth I never even realized how big Spring Grove. On my previous trips, I saw it as a one lane road leading to the visited grave. Walking around let me know just how big this place is and how much it has to offer. Because of my business state of mind, I didn't allow myself to admire the greenery and scenery. I saw enormous monuments that I will never forget. Whether it was the huge Dexter mausoleum or the one and only Charles West. You just don't realize how small and insignificant you are when you are apart of something this big. It really is just amazing.
This experience also made me think about my own life and death. Sometimes I just get so caught up on what is going on around me I forget to stop and smell the roses. I feel like I am on the ideal path for my life right now but what does it really matter if you cant dissect and appreciate the journey. This place has helped me relax. I am usually a manic over analytical person and I have lost my laid back nature. Spring Grove brought it back. Also, when I see people who have died much younger than I, it helps me realize that I need to live every day to the fullest. As far as death, it made me question how I would like to be remembered. I used to say that I wanted to be cremated, with my ashes in the possession of no one. I have come to the realization that this may be selfish.
The reason I feel like I shouldn't be cremated, with my ashes spread over Old Trafford, is because cemeteries are for the living. What kind of man would I be if I took the right for my loved ones to visit me away from them. Everyone grieves differently and this must be respected. I though of a burial of a traditional easy way out (for me personally) but now I almost find it necessary for the family to have this place. The cemetery is a place for the mourners to reflect on the life of their loved one and bring closure to any unsettling feelings they may have. It is a way to honor the person and remember that they once played a strong role in your life as well.
This course has also helped me become an explorer all over again. Do you remember when you were a child? Not only did you ask a barrage of questioning about everything but you went to find out for yourself. Though I didn't have a strong interest in cemeteries before this class, but it has allowed me to appreciate my new found knowledge. Whether it be a new sport or a small city, this class has let me know that I need to go beyond Wikipedia and find these things out myself. The Spring Grove website just cant justify the things you see and feel when you are actually walking around.
I know my reflections and thoughts have been awfully corny but Spring Grove brings the cliches right out of you. This place has allowed me to ave much more respect for cemeteries as a whole. Now when I walk into a cemetery, even if it is my family's dinky lot, a strong feeling of history and culture whooshes over my body. They are awfully heavy places. It's almost like you have thousands of people standing in front of you with an autobiography in hand. I have a greater appreciation for symbols which I would normally overlook and I have a better sense of unit. This group of people will forever have a bond which few can share. How many folks can say they took a class at one of the biggest U.S. cemeteries and may even be able to give a tour (a brief one of course). This is an experience I will never forget. I definitely wouldn't mind dying in Cincinnati!