One short sleep past, we wake eternally
The first thing I did when I came back home?
I went to see my parents.
It’s a lovely spot.
As my mother knew when she picked it out:
“Jimmy, I have something important to tell you, so pay attention.”
I got a drawer at Holy Cross. For me and your father.”
“Ground too cold?”
“Jimmy! Don’t be fresh! Just remember one thing.”
“Your father goes in the back.”
“Are you planning a quick getaway?”
Well, my father went in the back.
No complaints so far.
It is a very beautiful setting.
I sat with them for a while in September.
Looking out the window, I could see across Broadway in Malden, Massachusetts, to the end of Sheafe Street, where we lived as children.
In this house.
As a boy, I could see Holy Cross Cemetery from my bedroom window.
These memories came back to me as I took my daily stroll through Boston Common.
And walked here.
It’s right in the heart of the city.
But most Bostonians have never been there.
Or even know it exists.
And until very recently, I had never walked inside.
Central Burying Ground lacks the famous names that the Granary Burying Ground and King’s Chapel Burying Ground can boast of.
This is its most illustrious resident.
The other two cemeteries are part of the Freedom Trail, so they get a lot more visitors.
But this place seems far more peaceful.
Rest of thy bones, and soul’s delivery
I have never seen anyone walking in the Central Burying Ground.
It was amazingly quiet today, even with the modern city all around it.
Although my grandfathers came from Italy to Boston, they are not buried in the city. My family are buried in places like Holy Cross and Forest Dale, another Malden cemetery.
Their aspirations led them north to suburbia.
And that is where they lie.
In Boston, history is all around you.
All you have to do is look.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go
I enjoy the tranquility of these places, even though I am by no means a religious person.
The only thing I will ever ask of death? A good long rest.
I doubt I will be disappointed.