While we were at the cemetery, I noticed some adjacent plots that looked forlorn. One marble epitaph was broken into two, heavily soiled, and the etchings had faded and almost illegible. Apparently, the family of whoever had been buried in that particular grave plot had long ceased visiting.
I was wondering what could have happened, that the grave had been abandoned. Visiting memorial gardens had been an important tradition in Filipino culture. Some apply religious beliefs but for me, our family, we preserve the memory of my Dad; Dad’s life, which he had given to us, his family, for the most part of it. In our memory, we could feel him as if he’s still with us..
We asked the caretaker about what had happened to the abandoned grave plot we saw. He said, “The one visiting had stopped coming. The last thing I heard, he had died too”.
It made me think, when we too had left the earth, would the same happen to Dad’s burial place? Perhaps... As people die, memories die too. They will only continue to live on the earth, as long as those whom they had left living, continue to keep their memories living in their hearts.
When people stop to remember, they will soon abandon graves and monuments. Culture and heritage will soon die too. The next generation will lose their identity and will live without a cultural backbone. If one does not know who he is, how can he know where he should be?