I spent some time in Florida from 2012-2013 and was living in a small town called Oviedo. There was a cemetery there, which belongs to the First Baptist Church of Oviedo. It's not fenced, there's no parking available, and there are houses that are just across the street. This is in central Florida and the cemetery has graves from members of First Baptist from back in the 1880's.
As I said, there are no walls or gates closing it in, and in the day it's a very peaceful place. It's actually right across the street from Oviedo High School and you can see the football field where hundreds of people go every weekend during the sporting season. It was in the middle of expansion while I was living there and the surrounding trees were being torn down to make another quadrant of plots available.
My roommate and I were on our bikes a lot. There are great trails that make it kind of silly to drive everywhere. Whenever we passed the cemetery, I always had the thought that we should visit it, just to pay respects to the people who lived there before us. We had a meeting get delayed one day, so the two of us went there to pass the time while we waited.
I don't profess to be psychic or anything of that nature. Really. I don't want the attention that comes with that. But I also want to make a point of sharing my experience there that ghosts are not always angry, they're not always tortured, and they are the same people they were in life and retain their awareness and memories (in some cases).
While we walked through the rows of headstones, I would read the names on them and arrange the memorial tokens left there. Sometimes they looked like they'd been untended for decades.
One woman's grave, from 1890, was in the far southeastern corner. As we passed we were talking about things that had been going on at the time that she lived. I got a very powerful question pressed into my mind, and it was like someone was up in my face demanding more information. It wasn't malicious, but if it had words it would have been a demanding, "What did you say? Tell me what you said! What are you talking about?" I didn't say anything to my friend, but just discussed the topic a little more. The demanding feeling stayed just as strong and didn't lessen at all until we walked on (it seems she may not have been satisfied with our offering).
We proceeded toward the west side of the cemetery, nearer the road, and I was stopped in my tracks by a small headstone. It was dated to the early 2000's, I can't remember which year, but it was for a child. It was only 3 months old, if I remember right. There were other children's graves nearby which we'd passed and they ranged in ages from newborn to almost a year, but there was something very different about this one. Where the others seemed surrounded by peace and love, this one just felt so... I don't have words for the feeling except to describe what the image was that came to mind. It didn't feel like a sad child. It felt like a mother being torn by sobbing and mourning. The dreadful kind that really shouldn't ever be public (except for giving help). What was worse was that it felt ALONE. It wasn't a family in mourning, it felt like one woman. I tried not to dwell on this because my companion was pretty tender, but I quietly tried to feel out where this emotion was the strongest. It seemed concentrated in a kind of half circle around the front of the headstone, where the dates of birth and death were readable. When I took a step back, it got less, and 3-4 feet away it dissipated into the general peace of the cemetery. I didn't want to dwell since the pain was starting to hurt my chest and I didn't need to cry.
In the quadrant just north of the one with the children's graves was one a bit newer, not that the age of the internments really matters much aside from the individuals. There were two graves there that were just polar opposites. It took me by surprise, really, as if any of these other experiences hadn't already thrown my meters off the charts. These were the graves of two unrelated (I'm guessing) war veterans. Each died, if I remember right, in their 60-70's. I don't remember which service they were in, but it was printed on their markers. Again, this was over a year ago and I'm having a hard time remembering the concrete details of which was which, and out of respect I tried not to keep their names. It felt disrespectful, as if I was taking on an acquaintanceship with them against their will.
Anyway, these two graves were very close together, but in different rows. I make it a habit to thank servicemen when I meet them, and the dead, I figured, deserve no less respect. The first I came up to, after I voiced my thanks, flared up with a kind of emotional tirade. It was, again, like someone up in my face with something loud to say. He was angry. He wasn't mean, but he was angry, and it came off as he was angry with his government and his military. Something about standing there gave me a powerful feeling of resentment and jiltedness (is that even a word?) There was a whole mess of emotion that I wouldn't attempt to guess at reasons for, since that isn't my place. If I had those emotions of my own, in the role of this man I only knew had served, I would say I would not value my military service for very much at all. It felt like a wronged man.
What really makes this stand out strangely was the next grave, of a man in about the same time, likely serving at an overlapping time, seemed to receive my "thank you" with a warm flood of pride. I stayed next to that grave for quite awhile. While most in the cemetery were of a peaceful kind of white-noise, this one was actually a positive place. I didn't know any of these people, but the image that came to mind of this feeling was a strong (if slightly overweight), older man with a ready smile, and wearing his uniform hat. I want to know if that was really him, or if that's just what he wanted to be seen as, or if it's how he is now, but that's not for me to know. The real power of these two was that I could take two steps away and feel that same resentfulness yelling in my heart, while relief was just two feet the other direction!
There is nothing in a simple grassy patch of ground in Oviedo, FL that should make anyone feel joyful on 3 square feet of earth and want to weep in another. The graves hold bodies, yes, but they're dead. I have to believe that there's more going on, and souls still invested in the lives they led here on earth.
I haven't gone to any cemeteries since returning home to Arizona, partly for the fear that I will come home as exhausted as I did that day in Oviedo, or that I will lose the respect for each of these several experiences I've had.