When they said we were going to visit a famous graveyard in the city of Buenos Aires, where Eva Peron’s body had finally been placed, I pictured rows of headstones in a plot of land and thought … well, it’s a way to walk around and grab a breath of fresh air. As we walked around a beautiful high brick wall that surrounded the graveyard, all I could think was geez… prime real estate in the middle of the city and it’s just for the dead. Does that make sense? My own parents are in two different locations. My dad died when I was very young, and we buried him near his childhood home. And I had not visited him for decades, having only recently remembering where it was. My mom, died over twenty years ago, but her ashes, in a very small blue green glass urn, the color of her eyes, sits in my dining room cabinet, overlooking the family dinner table, where she always loved to be…. surrounded by food and family. So for me, the use of a land for a graveyard was …. well not practical I guess.
But when we turned the corner and entered the graveyard, my breath was taken away. It was edge to edge mausoleums, that stretched to the heavens with ornate figures of angels, young girls, trees, animals and many religious figures and scenes.
Row after row, you could walk. Or sit at a bench under a tree. It was peaceful. It was quiet. As you look closely at individual mausoleums, and the design and incredible artwork …they seem to want to tell you their story. One tells you of the great pain of losing a loved one. The sorrow captured forever in stone. Another shows the great faith they have that they will be reunited with their loved ones, one day. Then there are those that are a tribute to a person, like the mausoleum of Eva Peron, who had several fresh bouquets of flowers, newly placed. And many visitors, like us, walked through row after row of these stories about people who had passed.
We talked about how times have changed, and how so many children now move away from their childhood homes, as I did, and just aren’t near enough the family graveyards anymore to visit and pay tribute. So does it make sense to have graveyards? I look at the mausoleums, and each one in some way, stretches up to the heavens. Are they stretching towards home perhaps – where we all end up? So maybe, these graveyards are a beacon to call us home, even once in awhile, to reflect on where we came from, and to remind us of the stories from the people that preceded us. And like a book, if you don’t read the preceding chapters, can you really understand the chapter you are in? And so, if these graveyards in some way, can help us to write our own chapters , then they are worth every inch of real estate they sit on!
An immersive experience like the SCC, can really have a profound effect on you in ways you did not expect. It can change your point of view, attitude or even the way you think because you get to experience something in a way that you never have before. So a parting note to myself — time to go visit Dad.