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Spending my day in a cemetery


MtnDreams

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Lock clockwork I once again am in that cold dark place. I cannot be around anyone because I cannot act normal around normal people. So I have left work for a second day in a row. Yesterday I drove around the city for at least 4 hours before finally going home. Today, I’m sitting in a cemetery walking up and down the rows of tombstones.

 

This is probably the fifth time I have visited this cemetery in the past year. There are two others that I have frequented in past years. Why do I do this? Why do I come here? Am I here because nobody else is here and it’s one place I can truly escape to? Is it because it’s such a bizarre and extreme thing to do that it makes me feel cared for, as in, wow, your alone in a cemetery so you must need serious help? Is it a cry for help with the hopes that someone will recognize me? Do I just feel more comfortable with the dead than with the living?  I don’t really know. Maybe by seeing and walking amongst all this finality, realizing that each grave was a life, and seeing that nobody really even encounters those lives anymore it puts my life more in perspective, as in, get over yourself - you’re just as irrelevant as everyone else.

 

I have no life. I have a wife, two children, a dog, and two small fish. I work with a couple dozen people but I wouldn’t call any of them friends.  All are good people but none of them treat me as a friend, which I’m sure is more my fault than theirs. Outside of work I have no friends. Zero. Even my kids notice that. I’m starting to get “Daddy, Mommy has friends she talks to. Where are all your friends at?”

 

If I were to die tomorrow my loss wouldn’t really affect anyone.  My kids would obviously be devastated and that loss would stay with them. What else would you expect of children? Other than that, my wife would be sad, would be more overwhelmed because she now has to carry even more, but I think she would get over it fairly fast. My coworkers would be surprised, maybe shocked. I’m sure 10 or 20 would go to my funeral out of obligation but all would move on and I’d be a memory within a couple of days.

 

I have always been so good at solving problems.  That is what I do for a living. But I just can’t seem to solve this problem. The pain I can deal with. I’ve always been one who can take the pain. But it’s the inability to be around people that is crippling me.  Obviously professionally, if I can’t be around people then I can’t work. I manage about 25 different people so being incapable of interacting with anyone is chickening me professionally. My inability to concentrate and focus on anything has also debilitated me.  Lastly, I don’t even know if I am comprehending the world correctly.  Am I truly understanding a situation when I react to it? Am I imagining more than what is really being said or is happening? Or is my judgement still right on and I’m just being thrown lots of impediments?  If the latter, then why do I need to detach from society? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

 

Honestly, I am not even sure why I am posting this. I am not expecting help because only I can do that. I just don’t know what that help is. I guess I’m posting because I need to talk to someone. Even if no one reads this the writing of this helps me in some way. At least, that’s the idea. If you have made it this far then I truly thank you for your time.

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Hi MntDreams,

     I am so sorry that you are suffering.  You write of things that I have experienced personally although I realize I am not in your shoes.  I wish I knew what to say that would be helpful.  You say that you are not expecting help because only you can do that, and yet I feel sad that I can't think of anything helpful.  I have walked around cemeteries before.  This is something I did a lot.   I wish I could understand things better.  Seems sometimes like my brain has a mind of its own.  

     I sure hope you find something helpful.  Forgive me for not knowing what to say.  - epictetus 

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Hi MtnDreams,
I know many people who are awkward around others but it doesn’t bother them. I am quite an introvert myself and have been awkward a countless number of times. If that is who I am then that is who I am and people around me learn to accept that. What you wrote on the second paragraph is quite eloquent and philosophical. I am guessing that your soul seems to be searching for meaning as to why we are even here.
As I read your story, however, I see a lot of good things going for you. You are a manager, you have a family and I would assume a life more comfortable than what many people have. These are things others could only dream about. Maybe you need to appreciate more what you have instead of what you do not have. I know people who had been burdened by feelings of emptiness actually turn their life around after they discovered a strong faith. As they began to enjoy a contented life people began not only to accept them but enjoy their company as well. Instead of thinking about death you might want to consider more the life you are blessed with and enjoy it. I know that a strong reasonable faith can definitely do that. So this is something you might want to explore.
 

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@Here2Help2 Without question, yes, the crux of my grief is my soul’s never ending search for meaning. I am empty inside. Dead. My soul is there but it is filled with meaningless, purposeless space. I had a therapist once tell me that I was filled with a huge amount of existential angst. I had never heard that term until then and it really hit home. Yes, that describes well what I struggle with.

You are quite correct about the qualities of my life. I have a heck of a lot going for me. I have a wife (but a poor relationship), two beautiful and happy and exciting children filled with life and laughter, a dog, two fish, a very nice house, nice cars, nice stuff, etc., etc.. I have a very good job and have been fairly successful in everything I’ve done. So why do I feel like this? Why am I so empty, lost, rudderless, purposeless? I appreciate what I have (I think) or maybe it’s more like me being fully aware of what I do have. I definitely do not spend time dwelling on what I don’t have. I’m not concerned about material things, achievements, career, or anything like that. My grief seems to be more related to the fact that everything for me has gone well, I’ve done everything that you’re supposed to do, but yet none of that has ever provided happiness, self esteem, or meaning.

Faith? I have none. I was raised in a religious family and have been going to church for as long as I can remember. My family now goes to church regularly and I gladly participate for the sake of my wife and children.  During all that time I could never see any meaning in religion. Church is so bizarre for me because I watch all these people doing what they’re doing and I just wonder how were they able to successfully delude themselves? I am not an atheist by any means but I’m equally not a believer. I am, however, quite jealous of those who truly have faith because they seem to have (usually) an element of peace and happiness. I would love to have meaning like that in my life but I don’t know how to obtain it.

So I go about my life day by day doing the best I can. I do pretty well and fool everyone that I’m a successful, confident, intelligent, capable person. But little does anyone know that I am a complete mess on the inside, am constantly thinking/hoping to be killed, and really couldn’t care less about anything I am doing. Most people I interact with have no idea as to just how empty I am on the inside. I hate myself, absolutely hate myself, for having the life I have but being so empty and worthless in my soul.

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Hi MtnDreams,
I think you nailed it when you wrote, “I am, however, quite jealous of those who truly have faith because they seem to have (usually) an element of peace and happiness. I would love to have meaning like that in my life but I don’t know how to obtain it.” Hundreds of people find that everyday and you can as well. Not through religion but through a vibrant personal relationship with the one who knows our innermost being, our joys and pains, and what is going on through us. I have that peace and I hope that you will as well.

Edited by KidSurvivor2011
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On 2/9/2018 at 5:49 PM, MtnDreams said:

@Here2Help2 Without question, yes, the crux of my grief is my soul’s never ending search for meaning. I am empty inside. Dead. My soul is there but it is filled with meaningless, purposeless space. I had a therapist once tell me that I was filled with a huge amount of existential angst. I had never heard that term until then and it really hit home. Yes, that describes well what I struggle with.

You are quite correct about the qualities of my life. I have a heck of a lot going for me. I have a wife (but a poor relationship), two beautiful and happy and exciting children filled with life and laughter, a dog, two fish, a very nice house, nice cars, nice stuff, etc., etc.. I have a very good job and have been fairly successful in everything I’ve done. So why do I feel like this? Why am I so empty, lost, rudderless, purposeless? I appreciate what I have (I think) or maybe it’s more like me being fully aware of what I do have. I definitely do not spend time dwelling on what I don’t have. I’m not concerned about material things, achievements, career, or anything like that. My grief seems to be more related to the fact that everything for me has gone well, I’ve done everything that you’re supposed to do, but yet none of that has ever provided happiness, self esteem, or meaning.

Faith? I have none. I was raised in a religious family and have been going to church for as long as I can remember. My family now goes to church regularly and I gladly participate for the sake of my wife and children.  During all that time I could never see any meaning in religion. Church is so bizarre for me because I watch all these people doing what they’re doing and I just wonder how were they able to successfully delude themselves? I am not an atheist by any means but I’m equally not a believer. I am, however, quite jealous of those who truly have faith because they seem to have (usually) an element of peace and happiness. I would love to have meaning like that in my life but I don’t know how to obtain it.

So I go about my life day by day doing the best I can. I do pretty well and fool everyone that I’m a successful, confident, intelligent, capable person. But little does anyone know that I am a complete mess on the inside, am constantly thinking/hoping to be killed, and really couldn’t care less about anything I am doing. Most people I interact with have no idea as to just how empty I am on the inside. I hate myself, absolutely hate myself, for having the life I have but being so empty and worthless in my soul.

I go through these same feelings and experiences myself. There is no magic cure for it. Some say that asking these kinds of questions is a sign of high intelligence. Certainly, the world's great philosophers have pondered them frequently. i am actually a big fan of cemeteries. To me, the cemetery symbolizes permanence and conclusion; something which we don't get to experience in life. I can go to the cemetery and visit my third great-grandfather's grave, he died in 1871. I am descended from him, and someday my stone will join his. I can't quite explain why, but that is just awesome to think about! 

Not everyone who has faith is internally happy and content. I am certainly not. My faith wavers sometimes, and I make bad decisions and give in to sin frequently. For me, faith is like a ship's compass. It always points north, even when the ship is headed south. It reminds me of what I am supposed to believe, think, speak, and do. Will I ever reach sanctification in this life? Probably not, but I'm gonna keep trying. I will say this, you may want to do a little study on the various church denominations and traditions. You may be surprised at how different they actually are, and find one or more of them to be considerably more appealing than what you are involved with right now. I was raised Baptist, but as a young adult I chose the Wesleyan-Methodist branch of Christianity as it is closest to my understanding and beliefs about God.

I have no idea if any of this makes sense or helps you, just thought I should throw it out there!

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Signed up just to reply you. You certainly sound like an intelligent, curious soul who is probably better than most of us here. "No life" is a very bold statement considering what you have going for you. 

As far as your inability to bond with others and lack of peace goes, I'd suggest the following:

A) Find a hobby

People love interesting people, and to be interesting is to be interested. Find something that you love, because in my experience that is the best way to make friends, honestly. I used to struggle connecting with others but my hobby really is what earned me 2 great friends that are like brothers. Definitely consider this. 

B) Please check your PM (in a while), because Religious talk usually attracts unnecessary attention so I'd rather keep it private. 

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Holy hell man. So much of wbat you say resonates.  Just in that first post. I think the ending, where you say that you share this because you need to, but knowing you will have to be the one to do it, is pretty wise. I also have a life people would assume me to be happy. Because i am a good worker, good to my son and family. Because i am good at talking to people. I am actually pretty sociable, i do not have anxiety. But i am left feeling cold most days. I think i am alone because its what i want. I was able to overcome a lot, but as you said, managing the pain is dificult. And as you also mentioned, death coming for us, every second closer. Probably a lot could be learned in deep thought at a cemetery. Atleast this part is simple to me, i do not want the cookie cutter answer, because i have been spending my time on the more intsense side of asking. We all die. A small amount of time after we die nobody here will ever know we were here. Just like we do not know the countless dead before us.  To be honest my life feels like a war. A never ending quest to understand this place.

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Thank you all for your replies.  Support from people who can identify with what you’re struggling with does help.  At least for me.  @Dprfrk I agree 100% that hobbies, or really the connecting with people who have common interests, is a great help because it keeps your mind moving forward.  I have a half dozen hobbies that have fueled me for most of my life.  My big problem is that I have given up all of those hobbies  over that past few years.  It just got too painful to engage in a hobby, then have to end the engagement and go back to normal life.  I got to the point where I stopped looking forward to a day where I could do my hobby because the pain I felt when that hobby time ended began to dwarf the enjoyment that I got out of it.  That I’ve learned is a pure sign of depression and it describes well just how deep I have gotten into that depression.  I still engage in a hobby every so often because I force myself to test the waters. But I’m still not getting any enjoyment or other benefit from them, which saddens me greatly.  But I do know that my hobbies are there as a barometer so that when I do start to enjoy them again that is a signal that I’m getting better.

@Afterglow1978 my faith issues are not so much about dogmas of different religious branches but more about pure faith.  How can you follow any religious practices if you don’t know that there is some god or being that you are directing your religious efforts towards?  I mean, would you spend time in your day staring at a tree because others have told you that The Tree will bring you everlasting happiness?   You wouldn’t invest the time because you don’t believe in the outcome.  Maybe I am an atheist but just desperately want to be a believer.  That is the dilemma I’m in with religion.  And I don’t use the word “atheist” because it has an arrogance to it, which I don’t approve.  Maybe agnostic.  I have also never needed religion for moral reasons because I have a very strong moral compass, although I understand how religion does keep some people grounded and on track, which is a good thing.  I don’t intend to turn this into a religious discussion because that is not the source of my problems.

I think what is wrong with me is just depression, for lack of a better word.  I’ve mentioned several times in past posts an experience that describes well the struggle that consumes me.  And this happens over and over and over in a variety of settings.  Imagine if you will... I am sitting in my back yard on a warm, sunny day enjoying the view.  My back yard overlooks nearby mountains and the view is beautiful.  My kids are playing nearby, laughing, and just being healthy happy kids.  I have an adult beverage in my hand and I’m enjoying the smells of what I have cooking on the barbecue.  Man, this is the dream life.  This is awesome.  But I am sitting there fully aware that this is the good life but I am consumed by an unrelenting thought and feeling that something just isn’t right.  There is something that tells me that I shouldn’t be there and I need to be in a different place or maybe doing something else.  The frustration of not being able to grasp the reason for that and the subsequent guilt that comes with those thoughts has crippled me.

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What you wrote in your post and comments has deeply resonated with me. I feel like you reached into my heart and mind and wrote what you found. 

I don't have much to offer but my solidarity with you. I wish I could help, truly, but I hope just seeing that you're not alone offers some comfort. I hope you are able to find some sort of meaning and fire in your life.

All my best to you.

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Glad to do it. I visited the cemetery yesterday as a matter of fact, always something I enjoy. You may want to sign up with one of the various cemetery websites such as Find a Grave. You can add photos and descriptions of graves and the people who inhabit them. I am currently adding photos of the graves of my ancestors.

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