• Kate O'Connor

The Gravekeeper


I went for a walk today. I didn't know where I was going, or why. I just went. Eventually I found myself in a cemetery, walking between the rows of loved ones lost, admiring the care with which some graves had been tended. Fresh flowers, little offerings, no weeds in the grass. The further I walked, the older the graves got. All too soon they began to crumble and fade. These were the graves of those who had no one left to remember their personality, to mourn their spirit. There were no fresh flowers here, no relatives come to reminisce on a birthday, no one to care. And yet,these graves were still tended. Many that had begun to crumble had been repaired. Tombstones that had lost their balance and fallen over had been carefully propped back up and secured by wooden posts. There were no flowers, but there were no weeds either. Someone still cared. Then I saw him. A young man, no more than 35 years old, dressed in overalls, gumboots and a floppy hat. He was making his way along the graves, checking markers that had been propped up, pulling out a stray weed here and there, and murmuring hellos to each grave's occupants as he passed. I thought maybe he was feeble, but when he reached me he struck up a conversation that suggested intelligence and good humour. He was the gravekeeper here. He said he was only doing his job. But as he walked away, I realised something; it doesn't matter if it doesn't feel like it, there will always be someone who cares.

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