Musings, Wheelchair life

I Went To A Graveyard So I Could Live

Sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it? Well it’s much more true than I’d ever like to wish.

The rebel that I am not, I went for a walk the day before shielding was paused.

Yep shielding has paused, on the week that cases start to rise here in England UK. But we won’t go into that or this post will turn into something totally not what I aim it to be.

So I went for a walk. And yes that’s what I call it even though no walking is done by myself. It’s a phrase though isn’t it, not just a verb, a doing word as my teacher always used to remind me. I don’t do the walking, but I do go on them. I go on strolls too. This was probably more of a stroll if we are being specific. It was slow paced and in a graveyard. You probably guessed that from the title too.

I live in a town. Not a big one but not a tiny one, and I live right in the centre. Turn one way and you come to a supermarket, the local chippy and typical English high street dotted with inaccessible shops and way too many estate agents. Turn the other way and you pass some houses before you get to a dual carriageway.

Between the houses and the main roads is a graveyard. The one to which I walked.

I hadn’t been anywhere other than a necessary appointment since March and I wanted to head somewhere quiet where people wouldn’t make me enraged and infuriated. I figured a graveyard could be the place.

I cannot cross the pavement quickly at any moment, or step out of the way when people head towards me. There aren’t many dropped curbs around here and the pavements are too narrow to cross paths with another being without getting uncomfortably close.

Uncomfortably close means something different right now (as do the words face mask, which I discovered when discussing a birthday gift for someone. I got the rejuvenating kind).

I’m one for personal space at the best of times, and thought maybe if anything was to change after this pandemic then when I emerged from my cave, others would have gained that same respect of space that I have. It seems that’s not always the case from the tales I’m told.

I didn’t pass a soul (pun intended) on the way, nor on my wander around. I knew the local residents wouldn’t bother me.

A photo of me in my power wheelchair. I have blue jeans, a white shirt with pink flamingos on, I have red hair and am wearing a light purple homemade fabric face mask. I am on grass and there are plants in the background.
Here’s me somewhere other than my garden.

I wore a mask during my whole trip. I understand wearing a mask outdoors isn’t essential, but puts me at ease a little. Like a tiny bit. Also, I don’t need to fake smile at those that are getting too close.

Covid does not move, it needs a host and that host is you.

During shielding the phrase ‘are you brave enough yet’ was mentioned to me and others, by those that are returning to a life almost pre lockdown normal.

Bravery isn’t a form of defence or immunity. It’s a case of risk and if you’re willing to take it. I haven’t been, and I’m still not, much.

There are things I’d like to do. Have lunch with friends, go to the cinema, get a proper haircut. I’ve missed out on so many gigs I can’t even remember. But there’s next month and next year and Netflix and Zoom and WhatsApp and homemade cheese on toast. None of them are the real thing, but they’re alternatives that will make do for now until the risk reaches acceptable to me, not that I become brave enough.

And anyway, I quite enjoyed my stroll around the graveyard. Maybe they’ll become my social life for now, or maybe graveyards will be my new thing.

The view walking towards the chapel. It’s a long driveway made of shingle. There are rows of trees either side and hanging into view.

I’ve not had the opportunity for many Wheelescapades access reviews lately. But I have realised that even graveyards aren’t accessible.

The walk towards the entrance was stunning yet sprinkled with single. I tried to stick to the thinner areas where some stones had warn away or been pushed to the sides. Swerving my way down the track I must have appeared to have missed my morning brew.

Iron gates lead into the graveyard with trees either side. The chapel is the the left and the sky is blue and sunny with white clouds.

Once through the gates areas of grass were divided up with shingle walkways. Grass is slightly easier on the wheels and neck, although I can’t always foresee the bumps and holes, at least I don’t get the quicksand effect that shingle provides. Much of the grass had small curbs up on to it, though, so I’d have to look out for drops where I could gain access.

A close up shot of the ground. Deep shingle can been seen in places and there is a curb of around 5 centimetres up on to the grass.

Enjoying my venture so much, I returned to my graveyard pals the next day. I do hope to branch out a little with my solitude adventures, however the wilderness isn’t often equipped to deal with my wheels, and my bones aren’t equipped to deal with that.

Have you ventured out far? Do you have any recommendations of places to go that are accessible yet peaceful?

An image to pin. Title text I Went To A Graveyard So I Could Live is in grey on a cream background covering the bottom two thirds of the image. At the top is the same photo previously used showing the tree longed walk towards the chapel. An image to pin. Title text I Went To A Graveyard So I Could Live is placed over a photo of the graveyard with the chapel to the right.

Credit for the awesome title goes to Fleur Perry.


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21 thoughts on “I Went To A Graveyard So I Could Live”

  1. I love everything you wrote about bravery. It’s not “giving into fear” to understand risk and then make responsible decisions for our safety (and others’ safety!). You explained that so well.
    I hope you’re able to do some more exploring soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post!
    While I’ve shielded the best I can I have continued dog walking as I feel it’s safe enough, I’ve recently bought a car as buses are a no go for a long time so I’ve got to visit lots of parks which has been good.
    Maybe you should think about an assistance doggy 😁 they are life changing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gemma, I love this post. Some people might use the word bravery about going out during the pandemic. I don’t, but in some cases, I use the word stupidity for some people. The ones who won’t wear masks because they simply don’t see why they should, the ones who won’t social distance and then there are the ones who just want to meet up in pubs with all their friends, get blind drunk then go home to their families with whatever they may have picked up.

    “Covid does not move, it needs a host and that host is you.” Your words should be plastered in front of those people.

    A quiet graveyard is actually quite appealing rather than bumping into the masses.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re right, going for a walk is also just an expression. Like when I use the phrase ‘having a beer’ (I hate beer) or ‘grabbing a coffee’ (yuck). I’m glad you got out safely and without any fellow petri-dish humans.

    I actually used to walk to the graveyard a lot when I was growing up, in another small and typically British town centre. Accessibility needs to extend beyond the new shopping centres and commonly used modes of public transport. It needs to be anywhere and everywhere, but it sounds like there’s still a long way to go. I’m just sorry you so often come against the challenges of inaccessibility, which would drive me bonkers.

    Don’t even get me started on ‘bravery’ for going out or, a term I’ve also heard, ‘coronaphobia’. It’s not a phobia or a lack of courage when there is something dangerous and risky, indeed life-threatening, out there. Just hearing stuff like that makes my blood boil! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep I use the ‘meeting for coffee’ one too, even though mostly it will be tea.

      Oh ‘coronaphobia’ I hadn’t heart that one. What will it be next! It makes it sound like a challenge that only the fittest can pass, when people say brave. Like acting brave will do any good. I’m glad I’m not alone in being enraged by this.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We still haven’t been far, it’s good that you got out. I’ve never thought till now about the accessibility of graveyards. In so many you have to climb over other graves or grass areas to reach the grave you are visiting. I would imagine they are rarely easy to manoeuvre a wheelchair around.
    Hope you are able to get out again soon. Yes I keep watching the figures willing them to come right down rather then up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the graveyard where my grandparents are has steps and steep grass verges to areas, I cannot access where they are.
      I do hope the ride in cases reverses, as I can see myself staying in for much of this year.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I’m looking at the figures and wondering if schools are really going to be open in September and will be shielded again… Hubby is loving being back at work but looking at the figures this could end again soon.
        My grandparents are on a grass slope, it is impossible to get a wheelchair close to them.
        Take care Gemma!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Your blogpost really resonates with me. It does really make you feel better to get out I. The fresh air to a quiet place that feels safe. I realised some years ago that disability means I almost subconsciously risk assess continually. I constantly look for the safest most accessible option for me, what will not cause me more pain or make me more vulnerable than I need to be. People who think Im over cautious, that I think too much or am ‘not brave enough’ don’t get that it may be harder to recover from an injury or illness. There’s nothing brave about taking uneccesary risks and putting others’ health in jeopardy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this! Glad you got out. Well, that makes it sound like you’re in prison. And I know you’re not and you have a gorgeous garden, but being in public has its specialness, right now, I think. Hopefully the COVID numbers will drop more so you don’t feel you have to feel brave to be out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am fortunate to have a garden. It appears much larger in photos than real life! But it’s still more than some people have.
      You’re right though, being out out is different, something I’ve always taken for granted until now.
      Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

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