the vicar says "The metaphor of flowers is the beauty that weathers and decays. That is why we always put real flowers in the churchyard where they are associated with funerals. Plastic ones don't decay, so the metaphor gets lost."
hmmm. i don't buy it. and those who have lost loved ones know all too well that nothing is forever. for some (including me, sometimes) flowers dying brings back the pain all too clearly. don't those who mourn deserve to do it in their own way, metaphor free?
anyway, hasn't he seen how fake flowers fade and crumble over time when left out to the elements? they may take longer about it, but they don't last forever.
but i like the quote from the sociologist at the University of Bath.
"There are competing expectations about grief. For some people it's about moving on. For others it's about an ongoing relationship," she says. "There is a view of stages of grief that ends with 'letting go'. Some people don't do that. They never will let go, and that is OK."
they will never let go, and that is OK.
doesn't that make a change from what the grieving are usually told? the implication that if you don't 'move on', whatever that means, that you are somehow faulty?
then today i read this article on the BBC. which, to be honest, is even more depressing.
apparently there is a cemetery in essex that a national newspaper has seen fit to call the 'poudland cemetery'. (for those not native to the UK, that's quite an insult.) other mourners have taken offence at the fake flowers and wind chimes and the council have said that any wind chimes or ornaments left in the trees by 1 march will be removed. people will only be able to have two wind chimes and two solar lights. i don't want to link the article, but it's here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1352498/Essex-Council-bans-ornaments-Cemeteries-Poundland-graves-go.html
i personally think the first two pictures are absolutely beautiful.
the BBC article talks about a 'class war' in mourning, and i think they're right. i think that the displays of teddy bears and wind chimes get dismissed as 'tacky' by the folk who are there to mourn parents and grandparents. by those who haven't lost children. children who should not have died.
but i don't think anyone gets the right to judge anyone else's grief. to call it tacky or to ask them to move it elsewhere.
and i will be honest. before i lost the baby i might have thought it was tacky too. but i see things differently now. i see the love and the pain and the loss that makes people want to bring some comfort to a baby's grave, or a child's grave, or even an adult's. and i ache for the grieving.
when we were in barcelona last summer we went to visit a cemetery, the Cementiri del Poblenou. it was completely different to anything i've ever seen in the UK. we spent a long time wandering round and looking at the graves.
all the flowers in that cemetery were fake. real ones would never survive in the spanish sun, not in summer at least. i'll never forget the sound they made as the breeze blew and they rustled. it wasn't quite like anything i'd ever heard before. the sound of spanish mourning, maybe.
i want to post some pictures i took. i hope no one finds this disturbing, that i took pictures of graves. i loved them and i wanted to remember them. i'm sorry to anyone who finds it distasteful.
these people were loved. i'm sure that by some standards these graves are tacky, too. but i think they're beautiful and amazing.