Thursday, 7 November 2013

Ashes to ashes

During the road trips of my childhood we'd play this game, where upon arriving in a new town we'd each try to be the first one to spot the water tower. My sister on the other had amused herself by scouting for the local cemetery.

Cemeteries are very particular places. Time seems to stand still there. Have you noticed how it always seems to be autumn there? And then there are the crows. Which, without a doubt, contribute greatly to the Edgar Allan Poe- like atmosphere.

Hietaniemi cemetery, located close to my home in Töölö, is a very quiet and peaceful place. Particularly the old side (founded in 1829) has some interesting little architectural details in store. 

It also has some serious cultural historic value in how it offers glimpse into different lives - some from a couple of hundred years ago. Oh the stories that all the names engraved in the headstones could tell! I found myself pondering all the foreign names. How did they end in this small, distant country? In search of love? Did they found their happiness? Did they die loved?

The whole rich tapestry of humanity and society is on display here. There are the impressive monuments that took some serious money to build. Graves that still have visitors. Headstones that still get taken care of. Memories that are being cherished.

The there are sites time has long ago forgotten.  I wonder if the people whose final resting place they mark have been forgotten as well. If anyone is keeping their memory alive?

There are great men and names familiar from the history books...

... and the true heros of smaller, ordinary lives.


"Little Olga"

Sad news that I've been getting this year along with the surroundings that remind of the temporariness of it all sort of force things back into perspective. You really never know when it's all going to be over. Life and love are simply too precious to be taken for granted. We should try to appreciate it every day; to remember gratitude and caring for those around us. On the death bed it'll be too late. Which, by the way, is when I don't think anyone will regret not having loved less. Quite the contrary.

We should have courage to be wasteful with love - to dispose of it with both hands. It is one of the very few things in life that will only get stronger and bigger the more we give. Stubbornly, albeit somewhat naively I still, having had the shit kicked out of me by love, believe nothing is bigger or more important than that. If you don't give love everything you've got- then what do you?

The oldest graves often have benches built adjacent to them. I wonder who used to sit there? A mourner, lamenting the loss of a loved one, remembering the days they still had each other? What about when it's my time to go? Will I die being loved? Or will I be alone? Will anyone be grieving over me being gone? Will anyone long for the time we shared in this life?

Cemetery also forces to think and assess yourself and the life you lead. Can I be proud of myself? Am I all I can be? Is my life as good as it could and should? Have I made the most of the life I've been given? How will I be remembered? Is that the way I'd like to be remembered?

This autumn has been a very heavy and dark phase for me, for a number of reasons. Part of me seems to have died as well. Doubt has been eating its way through my insides: am I good enough? Will I do, not just for me but maybe, one day for someone else too? It's moments like this when faith, be it faith in anything, is tested; the moments of hardships. I should just try and find the faith and keep it going: faith in myself, in love and in life that will carry me through it all in the end.

And, perhaps, remember this advice. "Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt and dance like nobody's watching."




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