Friday, November 5, 2010

Grave Still Empty...and Ultrarunning

I posted awhile back (Aug 2010) about Staying Buried...and Ultrarunning, where Janet Marie Christiansen's body in a cemetery by my home was disinterred for forensic reasons.  She was murdered in 2005, and recently authorities in NC have charged her husband with her death.

Couple Fridays ago, while I was running thru the tail of Halley's Comet (see my post here), I looped thru the cemetery to pause at her grave.

It is still empty, as evidenced by the weeds and grass growing on the bare earth uncovered from the disinterment this summer.  I've been placing flowers there whenever I pass by.  Last Friday's flowers were Chicory, a tough roadside flower with a lovely blue color.

As when I previously posted, I'm not sure of the point here; the whole situation at once seems necessary and sad and bittersweet.  But I keep being drawn back, as though writing about Janet--whom I did not know, neither do I know her family--seems like something I should be doing.  So I do.

Thoughts of immortality frequently are on my mind as I run.  And that sheer time to ponder is one of the totally underrated aspects of Ultrarunning.  Most people in their lives simply do not have hours-long blocks of time in which to think about as much--or as little--as you wish.  During my time on roads or trails, I can examine an issue, toss it about, leave it to focus on the now of the trail (footing, animals, water, whatever), later come back to it....

I think that aspect, more than any other, may be the real reason I run long.


  1. Thank you for caring about Janet and leaving flowers. She has been re-interred, though; the court order only allowed a limited time before the casket was to be returned to the ground.

  2. You are right. I just called the local newspaper reporter who covered this story, and he said the judge had stipulated a 48 hour turnaround.

    I had assumed the process would take some weeks. With the drought we had in Jul-Aug this summer, when I first saw her grave, it was still bare as no grass had regrown (unbeknownst to me, Janet's body had been exhumed and already reinterred).

    Assuming the forensic process was still underway, I just figured I'd see a new disturbance of the ground once the forensic folks were done. Well, the grave never was re-disturbed this fall so I posted as though things were really dragging out. My mistake, and thanks for pointing that out.

    By the way, I Googled Janet's name last week to try to establish a date for her reburial. I was astonished to learn that this story had been covered on national TV (ABC News, I think). All I was responding to initially was a short, tragic, local (I thought) story in my hometown paper since the grave was quite close to my home. That explains, I think, why I got several comments to my posts on my tiny blog.

    All that said, I will continue to leave wildflowers whenever I run by.