Mount Royal Cemetery; Montreal, Quebec, Canada


We were looking for a grave, and reasonably sure we were in the right section. But, it was a big graveyard, covering a number of city blocks. Winding drives up and down hills. Full grown trees and distant vistas. And, except for the very ornate ones, gravestones look much alike.

Near one of the junctures of the roads, pulled right over to the side, and as close to being in a ditch as it could be, a car of higher-end wealth was parked. This was not particularly odd within itself, but, glancing around the rows and rows of graves, there was no one to be seen. An empty car in a graveyard. I thought it best to take a look.

Although I assumed the car was empty, I also had thought it possible it was not. And when I got close enough to look into the windows, I understood why I had seen nobody. A thin, elderly man, his white hair mussed, was slumped to one side in the driver’s seat. He had not fallen completely over because he was held by his shoulder strap. I was peering through the passenger side window, and could not tell if he was breathing.

I tapped, louder and louder, on the door window, but nothing happened. Not a twitch or shrug by the man. I still thought he was probably alive, but wondered if he might have had a heart attack or a stroke. Or, he could be deaf. Regardless, my tapping did nothing to him. So I decided to go around to the driver’s side.

As the car was so close to the ditch, I had to stand in it. The ground was wet, though there was no running water. I reached up and started knocking on the driver’s window – no tapping this time. There was still no response, and since I had been at this about three minutes, I did start thinking he was at least unconscious. I kept rapping on the window, planning next to open the door and wondering what to do it it was locked.

The man finally moved enough that I knew he was alive. But I kept knocking on the window until he opened his eyes. He looked befuddled and didn’t move his head. I knocked again and finally he looked in my direction. He seemed dazed but not surprised. He didn’t sit straight but he did reach and open the window.

“Are you all right?”


“I want to make sure you are all right. You haven’t been moving.”

“Yes. Yes, I am.”

“OK. I wanted to make certain.”


I started to move out of the ditch, but he called to me.

“Thank you for taking the time.”