It seems way too early, but there have many questions about death swirling around here recently. I think it may have started with a drive by a cemetery, with it's large concrete blocks sticking out of the ground, that prompted the "What is that?" question. So for months now, each time we've driven by that cemetery in Santa Monica, Mateo would beg us to take him in. "We don't have time today, maybe tomorrow," we would say over and over. We knew there would come a point when we would have to make the time.
Which we finally did. Now we've not only visited that one in Santa Monica but also a strange, seemingly ancient one in Los Angeles. At first they treated it like any open space and ran circles around the headstones. Then they began to look closer and noticed the stones had letters and numbers. Mateo seemed fascinated that the letters spelled the names of the people inside. "How did they die?" "How did they get under the ground?" "Are they ever alive down there?" " What if they want to get out?" Oh, so many questions.
The next visit prompted some more thoughtful questions about death. Mateo wanted to know if everyone dies just by closing their eyes. "How do people know when to die?" he asked looking very concerned. "What if they don't want to become angels?"
We spent about 30 minutes in the last one we visited, and I thought that was plenty of time. But not Mateo. "I could stay here for hours," he said. And when I asked why he said, "Because it just seems quiet." What does that say when a 5-year-old boy has to come to a cemetery for a little peace??