Archive for July 20th, 2010

I had a fabulous tour guide when I went to Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. (Unfortunately, all the photographs from this trip are currently lost. If I ever find the CD, I’ll use them for blog posts.) I cannot remember this man’s name. As he lead us around a small section of that massive Victorian garden cemetery, he stopped periodically at the monuments and asked “What was the family trying to tell you?” He would proceed to describe in loving detail the symbolism of every carving, the choice of every word, the grief and affection etched in stone. He articulated the families’ love and sorrow with such passion that he nearly brought me to tears more than once. He taught me that cemeteries honor the dead, but are also there for the living. The monuments chosen for the then-recently deceased reach out across time, beyond the lifetimes of their patrons and makers, and speak to those who will listen to what they have to say about the person (usually) buried nearby. Most of the messages are simple, some more detailed or unusual, but all contain a plea for remembrance. This guide honored that request and cherished it. By the time we met him, he had devoted years of his life to remembering those who had gone before him. He spoke of them like old friends, and he inspired me.

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