Robing Gudal: A visit to a long-forgotten cemetery

Published 7:12 pm Thursday, May 23, 2019

EN(dur)ANCE by Robin Gudal

Robin Gudal


This is the first in a five-part series of columns entitled “Epitaph.”

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Thank you for all who have served this amazing country of ours. Your sacrifice and the cost, at times the heartache, and that of your families’ is not forgotten.


I have been pondering for some time now, what legacy will I leave? Will I be remembered beyond a few generations? Why would I be? Have I made such an impact that my life, my passions would live on?

What is it about Mother Theresa, Ruth Graham, Malaya, Hilary Clinton, Rosa Parks, Jane Goodall, Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Amelia Earhart or (you fill in the blank) that make us remember; them? Am I capable, am I structured to also be in such a list?

What made these women have the gumption to be great among many?

Years long ago, my husband and I were blessed with a sabbatical after many years of serving in full-time ministry. As a part of this we hiked to a cemetery area within a state park. It was a bit of a hike. I don’t particularly enjoy hiking; however, my husband does, so I somewhat joyfully hiked along with him. After some time we came upon the marked cemetery that was our destination.

It was an open area surrounded by trees and a few million mosquitoes — well, maybe not that many, but for one that doesn’t particularly enjoy the process of the hike you notice all distractions. In this open area was maybe a handful of markers.

I remember standing just inside the perimeter and thinking “Really? This is what we hiked for, what a disappointment!”

It was not beautiful, not well-groomed or even impressive. It was less than any other cemetery I had ever seen. We have hiked to others in state parks, I have visited some quite impressive ones through my 50-plus years on this earth. Some we have spent a fair amount of time at, as you learn so much history. This was like a dot compared to your general cemetery and an embarrassment in comparison to the National Cemetery in Washington.

My husband excitedly started to look at what was there, while I stood with my arms folded, walking to the few to take a closer look. It was such an old cemetery that most of the markers where unrecognizable, and most of the spots where just a few broken stones piled on top of one another. You could see a divot in the ground in many more areas, but no markers. The stones were in no order, one here, one over there, maybe one used to be here, it was almost …  no, it was sad. It appeared to this outsider that the cemetery had little to no value to others.

We spent more time than I felt like we needed to there, almost edging toward a waste of time. It was, however, intriguing to Greg. That intrigued me.

Robin (Beckman) Gudal, intentional in life, is a wife, momma, nana, friend, and a flawed and imperfect follower of Jesus.