Cemeteries

I always loved watching people’s reactions when I told them I lived on Cemetery Road. Especially when I had to give directions to my house, which ended with “turn right at the giant crucifix”. Most people were shocked and more than a little creeped out. And most of the time, they’d tell me so. Like suddenly I was creepy because of my street’s name.

crucifix
Turn Right Here!

So, I’d just add fuel to the fire by telling them my house was next door to the cemetery. Literally. The only things separating my home from the graveyard were a narrow, dirt road and a row of bushes. They just thought they were creeped out before. Ha!

But the question I never could answer was, “What’s it like living next door to a cemetery?” I’d shrug my shoulders and mumble something like, “I dunno. It’s fine, I guess.”

I moved out of that house in 1998, when I was twenty-two years old. Now I’m forty, and I’ve had time to reflect on how having dead people for neighbors affected my life.

For one thing, when I was very young, I thought my parents owned the cemetery. I can’t remember when I finally understood that it wasn’t ours, but it always felt like part of my home. We moved into that house when I was two years old, so I learned about death at an early age. I’d see the processionals and the fresh graves. Sometimes, I’d even find one that was dug, but the funeral hadn’t made it there yet. My friend Chris jumped down inside one once. And honestly? They aren’t six feet deep.

I used to enjoy walking through the cemetery in the afternoon. It was quiet. Calm. I always felt an essence of peaceful serenity when I was there. I would read the gravestones and wonder what the deceased were like in life. Were they nice people? Were they adventurous? Timid? I’d make up stories in my mind about the people whose remains lay just a few feet beneath me.

horizontal graveNighttime was a different story, though. Especially when I was a teenager. Living on the Gulf Coast, it was more than little humid. An eerie fog liked to collect on the ground, and the headlights reflected off the gravestones as I drove past. It was freaky to say the least. Sometimes I’d park my car 4 feet from the front door and dart inside as quickly as I could. I don’t know why a place that was so peaceful during daylight scared me so much at night.

I suppose you could say I was fascinated with death—but not in a morbid way. I found the different beliefs associated with death interesting. From the Egyptian mummies, to Christian burials to cremation. Why did people make such a big deal out of what to do with the body? The person wasn’t there anymore. Only the shell that housed their spirit remained. I decided early on that funerals aren’t really for the deceased. They’re for the survivors. For the family and friends. Funerals are simply a way for people to grieve.

To this day, I’m still drawn to cemeteries. There’s just something about them that makes me feel comfortable and connected to the world. Maybe the spirits of the deceased are still hanging around. Maybe they enjoy my company. Who knows?

What I do know is that my fascination with death and cemeteries is what fuels my drive for writing about the paranormal.

Carrie Pulkinen has always been fascinated with the paranormal. Of course, when you grow up next door to a cemetery, the dead (and the undead) are hard to ignore. Pair that with her passion for writing, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for an exciting storyteller. Carrie spent the first part of her professional life as a high school journalism and yearbook teacher. In her free time, Carrie likes to read, take pictures, and play with her kids. Her novel Reawakened will be released later this year.

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Colorful Attitude

IMG_2278Tears fell, leaving streaks of dirt across her face. My words were more than her young heart could bear.

“I hate to say it Kay, but you’ve grown out of that pink shirt.”

I don’t know what was more overwhelming for her, the pile of clothes and toys surrounding her, or the uncertainty of change. With arms folded and brows furrowed, she stared at me with defiance, as if it was my fault – for feeding her.

Going through closets and drawers, preparing for our spring garage sale, Makayla was hit hard with this new reality. I took into account the fact that it was the end of the day. She was a little tired and probably hungry too. Letting go of that garment sent her over the edge.

A lot of times I find myself in the same place. God tells me it is time to clean out the closet and drawers of my heart. One by one, He will very gently reveal the places I have grown out of. I often times park myself in the middle of the overwhelming mess, and with arms folded, I wrestle with the idea of letting the “good things” go.

Later that evening, Makayla’s daddy surprised her with a new shirt, similar in style and color, but this one was in her size. She bubbled with joy!

Something I am learning in this season of my life, is that any time our Heavenly Father asks us to surrender something, it is always for our good. Anything that becomes more important to us than our relationship with Him simply must be stripped away.

Idols come in many styles, shapes and colors. As an adult, the things I hold on to tend to be more complicated than a pink shirt. Is God asking you to give something comfortable and familiar up my friend? He is a tender Father, and His ways can be always be trusted.

It’s okay to pout a little, He know how much it hurts.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. ~ Ezekiel 36:26