Tenebrous Thanatopsis and Taphophile

Tenebrous Thanatopsis and Taphophile

I knew a girl named Tenebrae once. There’s an  Argento movie too. 

Well that’s what she called herself. Just as I called myself Pywacket and Mr. J called himself Jaded. Those spooky people names. It was fun. Sometimes I miss it. Pywacket was nice, then mean,then nice again. I threw her away and then took her back. She’s mine forever now. 

Well I couldn’t get through this alphabet without more spooky!  I may not look so spooky on the outside anymore (I’ve gone from wearing all black, all the time, to well let’s just say I make interesting choices and they’d have a field day with me on What Not to Wear–and I’m good with that) but I’ve got a gooey spooky center.

That said, I couldn’t just have one word today, I needed two-no three!

Tenebrous, meaning dark, gloomy or spooky is a wonderful word. It calls up visions of Cthulhu,  of tentacles or tendrils of ectoplasm. It makes you think of exposed tree roots that trip you as you run blindly through the woods hoping to escape the night bumping thing chasing you. 


It is bittersweet how when looking for a suitable picture, I came across a writer I used to read frequently,  Tenebrous Kate,who let me to Ragdolly.net where I used to get my hair falls, which led me to a picture of a friend of mine from Chicago, Jola…and then….I wasn’t just strolling down memory lane, I was staggering!

 And that leads into my other word: Thanatopsis. There are many variations on this word that means view of or reflection upon death. 

thanatography: narrative of a death
thanatoid :apparently dead; deathly; deadly
thanatology: study of death and its customs
thanatomania: belief that one has been affected by death magic, and resulting illness
thanatophobia: fear of death 

Yes I’m a morbid wench and have been pretty much all my life. I am drawn to Victorian mourning jewelry, but moreso the photos (memento mori–warning these links can be disturbing)they took with their lost loved ones. It’s so beautiful and sad. And it was an accepted even encouraged practice then and now we find it unsettling and rather creepy. I wonder what has changed our ideas about death and why we feel the need to distance ourselves more than our ancestors did? 

 After I  had my third miscarriage I spent hours looking at those kinds of  pictures. It was something I kept to myself until now. I cried at each young loss, cried until I had no tears left and then was able to mostly move on. It might seem strange but it helped me feel less alone as I mourned.

 As a child my mother took me to play in cemeteries and hence became a taphophile (or one fascinated with tombstones). it isn’t the bodies, but the thoughts left behind on the stones by the family. What did the person wish for on their stone and what did their family give them. I’m most fascinated with the old markers, but I am also terrifically interested in the ones that have pictures. I’ve yet to come across a speaking one, though I’ve heard they exist.  When it is my time, I want a tombstone, but I want to be cremated and have my ashes mixed with my husband’s and with the kitties. I haven’t yet decided what it should say on it though. Something to do with cats and being a bit odd I suppose.

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