It's been over a year since my grandmother died (read the post about her here). Her grave finally has a gravestone! It seemed a bit... well, I'm not sure what the word would be. I mean, she was buried in a tote bag for goodness sakes. I kept bugging my mother about getting a nice stone, but it wasn't until this spring that inspiration struck.
We stopped over in Paris on the way to our Holy Lands Adventure. The plan had been to visit the Catacombs, but when we arrived, there was a line all the way around the block. And visitors only enter in groups of 11 or so. I figured we would be standing in line all day before we even made it to the gate. Ugh. So we wandered over to the nearest, free, macabre attraction - the Montparnasse Cemetery. We roamed for hours. I have never been in a more fascinating graveyard. This was more like a little city and filled with famous scientists', authors' and artists' "homes". There was so much variety - from the Egyptian themed grave in the Jewish sector to an ultra-modern stack of granite sticks.
As we were leaving, we realized we had to make use of our inspiration to finally get a stone for Gramma Magda! And certainly not a boring gray slab.
I would have loved to have a bear shaped sculpture as her marker, but that was a bit... expensive. My mother ordered this unusual black granite bench with an engraved bear. A good compromise. The stone looks rather lonely and bare (and a bit dirty!) without foliage and flowers. I thought it might be nice to make some cement stepping stones with the kids' handprints too. In our graveyards we often put vases of flowers. But in Paris, they have whole shrines erected. There was a grave for a 12 year-old Chinese boy :-( that had food in Tupperware containers, soda cans, little toys, photos, and letters. It was so sad. For the famous graves, visitors left their subway ticket stubs held down by pebbles. And on others, there were small piles of rocks. I suppose it is a way of saying, "I was here and I miss you."