As they pulled around the turn-about to park his truck, she wasn’t sure why they were here. Looking across the perfectly manicured lawn, she saw gravestone after gravestone dotting the hillside. “Why would he bring me here on Valentine’s Day,” she wondered. It was a beautiful place, but she still hadn’t reconciled her feelings about death. The peaceful atmosphere of this place threw her for a loop. Death is terrifying…so, why is a place that houses the dead so…peaceful?
He came around to the passenger side door and opened it as though she were a Queen needing assistance from her carriage. “I’ve put together a picnic. Let’s go up to the top.” The sweetness of the moment was not lost on her. He had a dark sense of humor and always teased her about her existential fear of the unknown. In many ways, this was the perfect place for both of them.
The graveyard covered a huge swath of a steep Oakland hill overlooking the flats below and a sweeping view of San Francisco on the other side of the Bay. He led her to the top of of the hill, passing more and more grandiose graves the higher up they got. At the top lay Millionaire’s Row. A series of fancy mausoleums…mansions for the dead. He laid out a blanket and started setting up all the cheeses, breads, nuts, and sandwiches he made for her. She was suddenly aware that for a moment she lost herself; her fear of being around the dead. She realized that whether she could understand it or not, she felt at peace here. The warm sun, the green grass and tall, wise trees. There was a warm company here. Her fear, it seemed, was nothing but a reflex left over from childhood. This calm feeling of acceptance is something she had searched for her whole life. She wasn’t aware of how it happened, just that it happened.
What to know:
Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, CA is a must-see!
I found out there are McKee and Cobb graves via this.