I love cemeteries. Not in a morbid depressing way, though I do have a dark sense of humor (Martin Macdonagh is not your favorite playwright unless you’re kind of a freak). Anyway, I feel the need to justify this love because of the looks I get when I mention it. So let me clarify. I do not have a morbid fascination with death, it’s not necromancy, and it’s not related to dark ritualistic practices, crime, or anything remotely bizarre.
Yes there are a couple of parks here and there and of course there’s millennium park. It’s not like you have zero options if you want to sit on some grass and enjoy a picnic on a summer afternoon, but while green space is limited, Chicago’s population is not… these locations tend to be crowded. Completely filled with loud people and their even louder children. Cemeteries are actually some of the most expansive green spaces we have!
When you want some peace and quiet in the bustling city, go to a cemetery. There are few (living) people there to begin with and the ones who are tend to be quiet. You have to be, it’s just etiquette. Something about showing reverence for our dearly departed.
They are expansive with large flowering trees, tranquil ponds, and winding paths. There are plenty of benches and lots of really elaborate mausoleums, tombstones, and statues to peruse. Look how genuinely picturesque it is!
Schools take children on field trips to these locations. There are many noteworthy individuals memorialized in Chicago’s cemeteries. It’s a learning opportunity people! These are legitimate tourist attractions.
See? I’m not a lunatic! I have a good friend who shares my love of Chicago Cemeteries for all the same reasons. Each summer we make a point of having at least one grave yard picnic. We take some lovely pictures of the scenery and it always turns into an afternoon well-spent.
My partner thought these graveyard picnic shenanigans sounded insane at first too. But, not too long after he and I began dating, we had our own graveyard picnic (because I insisted). He may not share my enthusiasm and he may not feel that an old historic cemetery is the ideal date night location, but he understands why I feel that way and is more than happy to tag along. That’s the important thing.
So when my partner came into town for a visit last week (the last time he’ll be able to take leave from the military until he completes pilot training!) it didn’t seem all that crazy for him to suggest we head over to Rosehill cemetery (a 10 minute walk from my apartment) for an afternoon stroll. We had just picked up some cupcakes and decided to have them there. We walked until we found a bench where we sat peacefully and enjoyed our snack.
Then my partner started to talk about our relationship somewhat seriously. I’m not one for serious conversations so in my typical fashion, I interrupted several times to tease him. He insisted that I shut my mouth before I ‘ruined it’ and then he whipped out this baby.
I don’t really remember what he said after that. Something about the rest of our lives and love and feelings. It was all a bit overwhelming and I was not entirely convinced it was real (because I am the kind of person who would stage a fake proposal… projecting).
My family didn’t believe me at all when I told them but I guess that’s what happens when you fake an elopement? Who could have seen that one coming? Unforeseen consequences, ya know? But we have all had some time to process the news and this is not a joke friends.
Now I am one of those people I’ve been judging really harshly for getting engaged at a really inappropriate age. I am being forced to face my own hypocrisy because I am still a baby right?? Then this morning I woke up with a college degree, a full-time job, an apartment, financial independence, and a fiancé? And I remembered that it’s been 5 years since I moved away from home and I’ve basically been the only person keeping myself alive since then… so I guess that’s 5 years of adult-ing under my belt?
Last week I thought that there was this ideal age range in which marriage was appropriate. I’ve read all the statistics about divorce rates and average household income as they relate to your age. It seems you’re supposed to be somewhere around your late 20’s to early 30’s… But then I met my fiancé and lost my god damn mind apparently… Because now I think the most important factor is the WHO and not the WHEN… WHAT?!?! I know. And society has deemed me mature enough to make these kinds of decisions on my own so here we are.
Now I have a lot of people asking me to share my engagement story. When the first words out of your moth are “Well he took me to a Cemetery…” you get some real weird looks. My partner, as the non-cemetery-enthusiast has been at a loss for words, resorting to bizzare explanations like, “well it’s just a really spiritual place for her…” But I hope this helps people understand. Like my uncle who saw my Facebook post, congratulated me, and then immediately said “wait did he propose in a grave yard?!?” Too funny.