Sunday, October 30, 2016

Ad Vitam Æternam

A gravesite featuring what I think represents the gateway to heaven as it proclaims eternal life is just one of the many sights that enchanted me at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.  I couldn’t find my son’s favorite, one inscribed, “Enfin seul!” (in English, “finally alone”).

Light shines through palm leaf designs cut out of a metal panel in one mausoleum.

Moss and lichens blanket the grounds, statuary and graves throughout Père Lachaise Cemetery, softening the look of the expanses of stone over time.

There is settling in many areas, and even a few tombs which appear to have their lids sliding off in the very oldest sections of the cemetery.  The graves are everywhere, sometimes appearing to have been dug in a haphazard manner.

I love that every grave exudes its own personality.  Coming from a land where everyone must have a flat, rectangular marker to enable the riding lawn mower to zip over top each week,  I appreciated the beauty and individuality displayed in the tombstones and family mausoleums in Paris.  It seems right to me that the burial site should focus more on the remembrance of the individual than the simplicity of groundskeeping.

May all the Saints rest in peace.

(Originally published for All Saints Day 2014.)

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