Going to a grave, a personal moment

“I’m talking to them, but I’m not praying there”

Pierre, 71 years old

“My family has been running a funeral marble business near the cemetery of Montrouge (Hauts-de-Seine) for three generations. I’ve been working there since I was 19. At 71, I know the place well. I consider my connection to the cemetery to be no different from that of others. When I’m there for work, that’s one thing. When I go to my parents’ grave, it’s quite another. As a marble worker, I see certain people regularly: to re-seal a grave, to flower it or water it… It creates links. Some come to the graves of their loved ones every day, but there are far fewer people in the cemetery than fifty years ago. I go to my parents’ grave very often. It’s like I’m visiting them. When everything is going well, I notice that I am not always in a hurry to go. But when things are not going so well, I take a little detour after my day’s work… It’s a soothing moment. I’m talking to them, but I’m not praying there. I prefer to pray in church. I don’t think you get used to death. It remains incomprehensible, whatever the age of the deceased. On the other hand, by my familiarity with the cemetery, I am perhaps more aware than others that death is part of life. “

“I feel the presence of God there”

Marie, 53 years old

“I had hardly ever set foot in a cemetery before the death of my godson, at the age of 4 and a half, in 2016. He had been ill for a long time and I often went to visit him. Going to his grave very regularly, several times a week at the beginning, was a certain way of continuing to be on the move, of going to see him. Even though I think of him every day in my prayer, I needed to do something for him. I thus became familiar with this cemetery, which is on my way to work. The place is beautiful, well maintained. There are grass, trees, and even a nesting box for birds … His grave has become more beautiful over time and it is still very flowered. There, I pray, I think of him while talking to him. It’s something strong to be there. I feel the presence of God there.

Today, I visit his grave less often, but always on important dates: the birthdays of his birth, his baptism, his death and All Saints’ Day. Going to a cemetery might seem incongruous as I truly believe that he is living elsewhere, that he has entered eternal life. But Mary Magdalene before discovering the risen Jesus went first to the tomb. This makes sense since Christianity is a religion of the incarnation. “

“Recharge your batteries and re-anchor yourself”

Olivier, 58 years old

“I buried my father in April in the cemetery of the small village of Gers where he lived and of which he had been mayor. He was a man very close to nature and it is quite naturally that we wanted his grave to bear the mark. As we are not very religious, she does not wear religious symbols, but she stands out by being completely covered with plants. It gives it a lively side. It changes with the seasons. We, his children, live at least 650 km away, and that implies the possibility of finding dandelions and weeds, but each contributes to the maintenance and the plantings at the option of his visits. My father was also a mountain lover and, this summer, we went with the family to the Pyrenees, to collect stones where the names of our deceased will be engraved. Coming to this tomb where several generations are buried, is to return to a kind of filiation, to realize that we are part of a whole and part of a continuity. It is to relate to a past. So many realities that are lost in our modern, very self-centered lives… It is a way of recharging one’s batteries and re-anchoring oneself. “


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