Saturday, April 01, 2017

Graves and culture

Mother dear mother
please don't cry
The angels are waiting 
to carry me on high

As a child I was aware of a grave behind the Old South Methodist Church with the poem above inscribed on it. Going back decades and if my memory serves, it was from the 19th century of a nine-year old girl Jennie.

As an adult I find graveyards fascinating for what I can learn about those entered. In every new country, I visit a graveyard to learn a bit more about the culture and the people.

I think of how they once lived, loved, cried, walked, ran just like I do above them. Under each mound of earth was someone who had touched the life of others.

Puritan cemeteries are rich with information such as the tomb above. Living in Boston, walking thru some of the old burial grounds are like meeting the founders of America. What the skull looked like does define the period when the deceased lived.

I have been fascinated by people buried in Argeles-sur-mer. Like the Puritan New England graves we learn about the deceased from what is part of the grave. Some are extra sad like the one below about the young son of a former bakery owner. He must have loved cats.

It is common to have ceramic plaques with wishes and memories. I'm sure Jean Vergés was a hunter.
Family members often express their "regrets" followed by wife, husband, child, grandchildren or whatever is appropriate.

Each culture has its own way for people to mourn its losses be it as simple as leaving a person in a cave or as elaborate as a pyramid. What is more universal that grief is painful and there is no secret route to recover.

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