In 1997, Shannon Applegate was bequeathed a small cemetery in western Oregon. The neglected five acres were not only the burial site for generations of her family but also the designated resting ground for many in the nearby, down-on-its-luck logging town. Living Among Headstones chronicles the author's experiences as she takes charge of this sacred land and finds herself plotting graves, consoling families, and confronting the funeral industry. Filled with humor, singular events, pathos, and unexpected smiles, the pages offer historical asides and moving personal stories. For example, Shannon explores the language and customs of funerals as she agonizes over how to approach families who have covered graves with plastic flowers and inappropriate ornaments. In doing so, she contemplates the myriad ways cultures past and present approach the dead. Living Among Headstones is, in part, about rural cemeteries in contemporary America, but the sum is a meditation on how we long for those we love to have a continuing place in our world, and it focuses as much on life as death.
|Publisher:||Da Capo Press|
|Edition description:||First Trade Paper Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
SHANNON APPLEGATE is also the author of Skookum: An Oregon Pioneer Family's History and Lore. She is the chair of Oregon's Commission on Historic Cemeteries and is active in the national cemetery preservation movement. She lives in Yoncalla, Oregon.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Living Among Headstones is one of the best books by a Northwest Author in recent years. The author, Shannon Applegate, is masterful in the way she weaves together philosophy, psychology, wisdom, emotion and factual information. A broad vision of worldwide funeral practices are woven into stories of life in a small town and its cemetery. This book is a joy to read and its images and ideas stay in our mind and heart after you are done.
This charming book is a warm and insightful discussion of life, death and grieving. From the traditions of funerals to the stones we place on our graves the author brings us along as she learns what it means to own and manage a cemetery where her family and friends are buried along with strangers who do not always share the same values or principals. Once begun this is a book you will not put down until you finish.