This is Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise. The resting place of many great authors, poets, composers, artists...and one of my favorite places in the world. It is filled with giant oaks and incredible sculptures. Around every turn is a quiet secret left only for you. The whispers of those long gone can still be heard. Their memories felt as if they were still near. It is quiet...peaceful...poignant.
You may think it morbid of me to love a cemetery. People often wonder why some of us are drawn to places of final rest for others. I cannot speak for others but for me this is not a fascination with death. It is an affirmation of life.
Seeing the tombs of the people that created history, that wrote the books that made me, that created the music that shaped my memories...brings them closer. Makes them human. Honors them.
It is very difficult to have a beautiful life (whatever your personal definition of that would be). It is almost impossible to have a beautiful death. Not many are lucky to be immortalized in a fiery plane crash or a crime of passion. Even fewer are able to take their life with dignity and grace. Most deaths are senseless, unfair...they degrade the life they take by their commonality.
Perhaps that is why suicide clubs were so popular in early 19th century England. Populated by young men and women who gathered each week to have fate select one of their own to take as death's bride/groom. The selected would then return home to compose their poetic masterpiece knowing that he would not live to see the sunrise. These poor souls, taken at the prime of their lives, forever young. Forever beautiful.
I'm listening to Chopin. His music survives centuries because it is perfection. It is so melancholy, so so truly sad. You can hear it at Pere Lachaise when the wind rustles the tree tops. Thinking about death is not morbid...it is a way to re-evaluate one's own existence. To see what really matters. What contributions has one made to this life...what shall they remember when you're gone? Will they remember you at all?