If you want to really know the history of a place, find the cemetery. The Memory Lane Cemetery in Silver City, New Mexico displays over a century of history, plot by plot.
It’s not fancy, but this is a family plot. I can almost imagine the sons erecting this wired barrier in the hot sun, marking their spot for the ages.
This family plot my have a fancier fence, but the signs are pure poverty, or perhaps just practicality in a mining town where money was hard to come by for most. I can almost see people lettering the signs, hammering the boards together, then pounding each marker into place as final farewells, one by one by one.
This marker, all alone, tells any number of stories. It’s the last line that made me cry, imagining the grief-stricken voice of his mother saying over and over, 13 days, only 13 days, while his father held her as they watched the tiny casket lowered into the ground.
There is a huge section of mostly Hispanic last names, and the decoration isn’t limited to the Day of the Dead celebration in November; this is what it looked like in March, with fresh flowers – plastic and real – on almost every gravestone.
It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, you just want a place where you can go visit the ones who’ve gone on before you. Names are for others to read, you don’t need them written out and you couldn’t afford it anyways.
And as old as this cemetery is, there is always room for one more.
The graveyard is not the final resting place of our dear departed but an ephemeral repository of their remains. The real graveyard, however, is somewhere deep in our heart, where we can always visit them at any time of the day, talk about some unforgettable summers, or cry in solitude as if they were always there for us to stay.
Danny Castillones Sillada