My Home Away From Home

Before I get into today’s post, I wanted to share four announcements.

Seconds Before Sunrise is officially on Amazon. It just went up yesterday! The cover and “Look Inside” will be uploaded soon, but you can still order it today. I truly appreciate your support! Click below.


Fantasy is more Fun also had me over as a guest author for Free Book Friday. The cool part? I explain what free books mean to me as a writer and reader. On top of that, I’ve done two interviews this week.

The Urge to Write wanted to know what the covers of The Timely Death Trilogy represented, and I explained the designs for both of them. I also talked about Death Before Daylight (book 3) and included a preview of Seconds Before Sunrise. After that Writing Under Fire wondered if I wrote in other genres or if I see patterns in my work. Check both of them out by clicking the links.

On a day-to-day basis, I open hundreds of emails from you guys, and I love speaking with everyone. So when I received an email from the Community Coordinator for DogVacay.com, I was more than excited when they asked me write about “My Home Away From Home.”

  1. I love animals. I grew up with three huskies and now I have a cat. Since their company is helping animals, I was more than happy to take part.
  2. I am very grateful when readers ask me to blog about a certain topic that is important to them. (That being said, if you have an idea that you want me to blog about, send me an email to shannonathompson@aol.com for consideration. Your website will also be credited)

So, naturally, I said yes.

And I said “yes” before I actually thought about my answer. This is where I ran into a slight problem. When I realized my answer, I knew it might make some readers uncomfortable to the point where – for a minute – I considered choosing a more socially acceptable “home away from home.” But I can’t do that. I must be honest by being myself, especially in such a personal post, so I will be.

My home away from home is a cemetery.

That’s right. A cemetery.

Before you think you’re in a Tim Burton film, let me explain:

Cemeteries aren’t these dreary places filled with rotting trees and crumbling statues. (Not normally anyway.) The one I go to is always clean, well attended to and quite beautiful really. With spring coming in, the grass is green and the trees are growing again. My favorite tree is only a few yards away from where I sit to write, think, or read, and the lake is close enough to watch the geese on a nice day. Everything is surrounded by a small but distant neighborhood, causing the eight fields to feel more like a fake-flowered park than a place where people fear the dead. In fact, I often watch joggers while I sit in my spot – a spot right next to my mom.

20130704_160525Today is actually the eleventh anniversary of my mother’s death, but I’ve tried to stop counting the days she’s been gone by replacing the thoughts with memories of her life. I do that by visiting her at the cemetery, and I’ve been doing it for many years now.

Even though my mother died when I was eleven, it didn’t hit me until August of 2008. I can actually remember the exact day, one of the worse moments that eventually became one of my strongest moments.

I’m unsure why it took me seven years, but I think graduating high school had a lot to do with it. Big events. Big moments that you wish your loved one could see. So my seventeen-year-old self started going there on a regular basis – during the early morning or too late at night. I even kept a quail-decorated quilt in my trunk that I would pull out, spread out, and lay out on – just to look at the sky. My favorite nights were the clear nights where I crawled onto the hood of my Bravada and stared at the stars, talked to myself, or just listened to the silence.

All of these pictures were taken there.

In that one field, I’ve cried, screamed, and questioned everything. But I’ve also smiled, laughed, and found myself again. All of my journals have been to that place, and most of my novels have a few scenes written from that place. I actually wrote there the other day, and I’ve spoken to the caretaker so many times that I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in one of my novels (subconsciously, of course.) I’ve witnessed other burials, met other mourners, and realized that someone else had replaced my mother’s flowers when I couldn’t. There, I am often reminded of life and death, but I also feel the reminder of love – that love, in many ways, is immortal. That immortal love is what home feels like to me.

To this day, the cemetery is my most peaceful place – and although I don’t go as much as I used to, I still make it a point to go, especially during this time of the year. In fact, I just went there a week ago.  I may not be able to visit for the rest of my life, but I believe it will always be my calm place, my place where I can go outside and reconnect with the world, my place where I am reminded of what is important – my home away from home.


20 thoughts on “My Home Away From Home

  1. I used to love the little cemetery a few towns over. I didn’t know anybody buried there personally, it was just a very relaxing place to go and think.
    I’ll be picking up your books next pay day

  2. I can totally relate. When my dad died nearly nine years ago my step-mom put up a bench as his headstone. He rests in between my uncle and my grandma and it’s nice to go out there and sit. When I go running I always park in the cemetery and run out in the countryside. When I get back I stretch and rest on the bench and let them know how I did. Kind of silly, but it makes me feel better.

    Also, when I’m working a full shift (6am-5pm) I have to take a nap over lunch. If the town I’m working in has an appropriate cemetery I’ll park in the back and take a nap there. People laugh at that, but it’s quiet and peaceful, and I don’t have to worry about someone catching me snoozing in a Dollar General parking lot and wondering what’s up with that.

  3. Congrats on the Amazon listing. I can see how peaceful and quiet of a cemetery can be. Never spent much time in one, but it’s certainly a place where you won’t find a lot of noise and chaos.

    1. Thank you! I was getting nervous that it wouldn’t be up in time for the release. Only 11 more days. :] Cemeteries are very nice. I like them. When I lived too far away to visit my mother’s cemetery, I found one near my new town and ended up visiting a group of unmarked Civil War soldiers on a pretty regular basis.

      1. That’s pretty cool. I’ll admit that the ones around here are rather nondescript and sad. That might just be me though.

        Good luck with the release. I’m actually handling my newest book release now. I always forget how mind-spinning this is.

  4. Hi Shannon – congrats on the Amazon listing! Do you know if it will go up as kindle soon too on amazon.co.uk? Also, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your beautiful home away from home, its a wonderful place to read about, and beautiful that you can share something like that. My granddad’s ashes are scattered in a cave in a beautiful valley that my family have wonderful memories of, and I try to visit him as much as possible (not easy, as it’s halfway up the country!) But it’s a wonderful and peaceful place, that makes you sad as well as happy, and taking my husband there has created new memories to go with the old ones 🙂 XXX

    1. Thank you! I am very excited about it. The Kindle version will release June 12, and I will be making announcements as it gets closer, but I am having a release day virtual party on Facebook. It’s totally online and free, but you can also win tons of prizes, including a signed paperback of either Minutes Before Sunset or Seconds Before Sunrise. You can also interview me live.
      Here’s the link: (https://www.facebook.com/events/1477688422451460/)
      Thank you for also sharing your story. That places sounds lovely, very peaceful. It’s so nice to hear of other beautiful places where loved ones can enjoy the memories.

  5. Cemeteries are peaceful, beautiful places. They’re good for the muse. I can’t help but write stories for the names on the tombstones, for those individual lives who were once a part — and still are, in ways — of the great continuum.

    I always feel a little morbid when I tell people I like to visit cemeteries, even if I don’t have a loved one that I’m visiting. Here in Estonia, they are in the woods. There’s nothing quite as soothing as sitting on a patch of mossy-carpeted forest floor when the sun is filtering through the trees and the birds are singing somewhere overhead.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  6. For starters, congrats on the book being on Amazon!

    What a lovely post, really makes me think differently on places like that. I have to admit I tend to shy away from cemeteries, but I can understand the peace and serenity they must offer. Great post 🙂

  7. I completely understand.

    I don’t have one particular cemetery. Almost any will do, though I prefer the older ones with trees (and shade) and a variety of headstone styles. I wish it were common practice to include a few picnic tables. (More for working than for eating.)

  8. There is hardly anything as soothing as time in a lovely cemetery. While I hope that the dead really do get to Rest in Peace, graveyards are really designed for the comfort (both in their immediate emotional need and in the long term or impersonal sense) of the living, and those of us lucky enough to know that reap the benefit. Yes, I have spent quality time with deceased loved ones in cemeteries, but I’ve had far more frequent blessings through visits in many cemeteries where I had no one to “visit”. Your post is a marvelous ‘celebration’ of the good these sanctuaries offer. Thanks for sharing.
    And congratulations on your latest Amazon baby’s appearance!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s