Cemeteries are frightening and fearful places to most people, including me. I hate Chinese cemeteries, especially those in my home town, and especially the Buddhist or Taoists ones where the gravestones alone can make my heart jump to my mouth, so spooky and ugly they are. So imagine a cemetery that's beautiful and even scenic, where a walk is like a walk through one of the famous gardens in Europe. There is such a cemetery, and we have been there the last two two times we went to Shanghai, for that's where Da Berber, my FIL's older brother, is buried. I'm not sure what the name of the cemetery is, but it is about one hour's drive out of Shanghai near a town where we could conveniently eat hairy crabs (da cha xia, or mao xia) too. It was also time to bring Da Berber's only great grandson, little 6-weeks old Luke, to pay his respects.
This cemetery is the resting place for many of China's famous literary and political people. A famous musician here, an award-winning movie star there, a couple of royal communist party big guns, writers, poets, artists...I liked walking around the part of the cemetary where the famous people are buried. I can't read their stories, written in Chinese, but I appreciated the statues and the beautiful surroundings. Even the air was nice, with the scent of freshly-cut grass and osmanthus flowers. But I walk quickly when I am told this one or that one died in an airplane crash, or a tragic accident or suicide, and a part of the cemetery that made my heart contract hard was the one where little children were buried.
I liked this one. He looks happy and relaxed.
A famous communist?
I was told that many of the people here were commies persecuted by their own party and their status cleared and restored only when China opened up over the last decade.
Little angels. Extra sad because China has a one-child policy, very much adhered to in the cities, so these kids were mostly only-child.
I like this one too.
This made me sad because the empty chair made me wonder who sat on it, and it made me think of my father.
How can a walk through a cemetery not remind me of my own mortality? It did, and I particularly like this one, only maybe I would be whipping up a cake or eating a bowl of mangoes. Or durians.