09 Aug 2022

Longford Leader columnist: Memories of good people long past and gone

Mattie Fox

Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox

On Sunday, May 14 I walked through Ballinalee graveyard.

It's a sobering way to spend half an hour or so; as I read the headstone details... the past came flooding, indeed rushing, through my mind.

Memories, recollections, visions of good people long past and gone.

Names I'd forgotten but quickly remembered; people I knew whose presence was such a powerful force growing up. Now, forever silent.

It's very interesting to note the altering flashes that come to mind when visiting a graveyard. Things long forgotten are still fresh in the mind once triggered.

They say that 90% of the conscious mind is under the surface, like a great iceberg floating in the water. It only takes a real reminder to cause the thoughts buried deep within to come bursting to the surface.

I thought of shopkeepers whose towering presence once seemed perpetual, now gone, and to most of us, forgotten.

Mechanics, carpenters, farmers, labourers, teachers, guards, great footballers, stone masons, gardeners, politicians, handymen, maids, housekeepers, printers, journalists, undertakers, the list goes on and on.

Death, is indeed the great leveller.

Everyone in the graveyard votes the same, as the song goes.

Graves that once were tended carefully, have in some cases fallen victim to the disappearing line of a family. Now they're a bit unkempt, and look forlorn.

Doesn't matter.

It really doesn't matter.

The Catholic Graveyard is right opposite the Church of Ireland plot, and in both, the very same feelings resonate.

All is still, in a way that cannot be fully explained. Although the road passes quite close to either place, it's strangely peaceful in the graveyard.

It's a restful place. Almost separated from the noise, hustle and bustle of the everyday comings and goings.

I guess that's what it's meant to be, yet it's interesting how solitary one can feel going through the graveyards.

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