It's sunny and cool about 64 degrees and I'm on my trusted bike, "Bones", riding through Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. This isn't an ordinary cemetery, at 226 acres this is one of the most stunning and treasured cemeteries in the nation.
Designed by the same landscape architect behind Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted's intent was to create a space that would express a harmony between humankind and the natural setting.
I look at these lives that have come and gone and I wonder, who are they? What did they do? How did they spend their days? What did they devote themselves to? Were they happy? Did they laugh? Did they travel? Who are their living offspring? How are these gravestones interconnected? Did one of their great granddaughters marry someone else's great grandchild four graves down? Have their stories been passed down? Are they at peace?
I ponder the kind of life I want to live and the legacy I want to leave. I know I want to live a life of purpose and meaning. I know I am passionately curious about social dynamics, upbringing, psychology, ontology, philosophy, and human transformation. I know I want to explore as much as I possibly can. And though I have debated back/forth hundreds of times, I think I want a family.
I don't think it will be married, white picket fence, two kids, and a golden retriever. No, I've been fed that white bread fairytale and I ain't buying it.
But family doesn't look one kind of way. Every family is a unique tapestry, interwoven over generations with love, inside jokes, hardship, victory, every kind of emotion and experience, and things said and unsaid. Family is what makes us human. Family is what makes us alive.
Whether it's the family you were born into or the family you've created, we all crave that sense of connection. Knowing someone's "got you".
As I look at this beautiful place where so many souls have come to rest, I know I want to rest having done, seen, loved it all. And I want to be buried, scattered, or whatever the most sustainable, honorable route by that time is, amongst my family.
So I may be home.
RIP Grandpa Huie, Grandma Pinkie, Old Dad, Max Mendoza, Sunny Neu, and Lacey Jarrell.
#alifetothemax #foreversunny #buckleformelacey