For God sake, Nathalie, you didn’t post one single blog post in almost a year (because too busy with living and with writing a Berlin Guide that will be published in September 2016-more info soon-promised) and the first one you write again is about a graveyard! A graveyard, seriously…again.
Haha, well hell yes, this one is indeed about a churchyard…again. (here’s the link to the other blog post- Dutch only, sorry)
I just happen to love graveyards in Berlin. (Does that make me weird? Maybe just a little.) They’re beautiful, green, a little chaotic and incredibly peaceful. And they are soooooo quiet. Because death people are pretty good at being quiet. In a way, the death are not dead. Not as in “oooooohooooohooo we are haunting the graveyard“, no not at all, but more as “we existed, we meant something for someone, our lives did matter and we hope yours matter and take it from us: live your life as hard as you can. Grab these moments.” And so I walk totally zen through this beautiful gardens and listen to their silence.
I visited the Alter St. Matthäus Kirchhof today. My friend Kat lives in front of it and the way she always spoke about all the beautiful (and edible!) plants on “her” Friedhof and about the grave of Mathilda on “her” Friedhof in front of which she loves to sit and meditat, I wanted to see this with my own eyes. So I did. And oh, I wasn’t disappointed.
I especially love the graves of the unknown, the poor, the children, but there are also some famous graves here.
What to think about The Grimm Brothers for example? Günther Grass wrote about them in Grimms Wörter (Grimms Words); making them walk in Tiergarten in the 20th Century.
But this is the 21st C. And this is their grave:
And what to think of Claus Von Stauffenberg ? He tried to safe the world from Hitler and disarm the SS. Operation Valkyrie failed and Von Stauffenberg and the other ringleaders of the conspiracy were executed in 1944. This yard has only a remembrance stone because Von Stauffenbergs corpse was exhumed by the SS and his remains moved to an unknown place.
So yes, I confess. I love the Berlin graveyards. Every single grave has its history, every tree and flower too. Every living and every dead human and animal (squirrels, foxes…) too.
I also really love the one in Port Bou Spain, where I earlier this month I visited the grave of Walter Benjamin.
Or the fisherman graveyard in Sète, France. And so on…
Because yes, all these places are so fundamentally democratic: it is a fact of life that we all die. Memento Mori! Whether we are rich or poor, whether we are good or bad, happy or sad…we will all die. That is the name of this whole fascinating game. And then it will be our turn to whisper to the wanderers: “it is really beautiful here, but I don’t have eyes to see it anymore. But you do: so be humble and live and love hard.”