On Sunday, Nick and I decided to take the kids to Joburg’s oldest public cemetery. As noted in previous posts, I have always been fascinated with graveyards – and especially really old graveyards. For us, it’s a fascinating history lesson. Reading the headstones allows us just the tiniest glimpse into the lives of others who loved, lost and lived in times long before either of us were born.
It also reminds us of the frailty of human life. Life is short. We live – we die… and many of us die too soon.
Nick and I aren’t shy about discussing the topic of death. Death is a part of life – it’s not a taboo subject in our family. Morgan has asked about death on a number of occasions (most recently, when her hamster died). And she has also recently asked about ghosts. The conversation went something like this:
Morgan: Dad, what are ghosts?
Nick: Well… some people believe that when we die… some of us become ghosts. It’s like a spirit with no body.
Nick: What do you think?
Morgan: Well, I think that when we die… we become bones.
Visiting old graveyards (fast becoming a family tradition, it would seem) has become our way of reminding ourselves how precious… and how frail… life is. Life is a gift! Graveyards remind me to embrace that gift – and to live life to the fullest… not waste it away on nothingness. I would really like to be counted amongst those who LIVED… before they died (and sadly, not everyone does).
Here are some photos of Braamfontein Cemetery (well worth a visit). It has a Jewish section, a Muslim section, a Chinese section – and so much more. The Jewish section was the most overgrown (and the most beautiful)… the Muslim section is the area that is most looked after (because Braamfontein Cemetery is right next to Fordsburg – a predominantly Muslim area and they take special care of the graves of their dead ancestors).
Also – after the pictures – I’m adding 2 links to related posts which might interest you (if this graveyard post interests you at all)….
On a similar theme, I wrote a post about The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying a couple of weeks ago. Definitely worth a read…. as is this post, written by one of my new friends from the Travelling Families group. The post is all about what death taught him about how to live – and I found it so inspiring and eye-opening.